Low-energy bulbs ’cause migraine’ (BBC news)

Energy-saving light bulbs could trigger migraines, say campaigners.

The Migraine Action Association says members have told them how fluorescent bulbs have led to attacks.

The government is set to prevent the sale of conventional light bulbs within the next four years in a bid to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Concerns have already been raised by epilepsy charities about an increased risk of seizures from energy-saving bulbs.

Some bulbs use similar technology to fluorescent strip lights, and some users have complained that there can be a “flickering” effect.

They use approximately a quarter of the energy of conventional bulbs, and in September, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said that a voluntary agreement with retailers would remove all conventional bulbs from the shops by December 2011.

However, Karen Manning, from the Migraine Action Association, said this could be damaging to some sufferers.

She said that up to six million people in the UK suffer from some sort of migraine attack.

These bulbs do trigger migraines for some of our members – it’s either the flickering, or the low intensity of the light, causing eye strain.

We would ask the government to avoid banning them completely, and still leave some opportunity for conventional bulbs to be purchased.”

Old technology

However, the Lighting Association, which represents bulb manufacturers, said that the latest energy-saving bulbs did not produce a flicker.

A spokesman said: “A small number of cases have been reported by people who suffer from reactions to certain types of linear fluorescent lamps.

“These were almost certainly triggered by old technology.”

Last year the charity Epilepsy Action reported that a small number of people with the illness could have seizures triggered by low-energy bulbs.

“We would ask the government to avoid banning them completely, and still leave some opportunity for conventional bulbs to be purchased ” – Karen Manning, Migraine Action Association

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7167860.stm

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