Reporting Ginger Allen
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Everybody knows that one good way to prevent a sunburn is to stay inside where you’re safe from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, right?
Well that may not be true if your home is lit with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
A new study found these money-saving compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, emit high levels of ultra violet radiation.
Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York randomly tested the bulbs and found the rays are so strong they can actually burn your skin and skin cells.
“We know UVA and UVB rays produce aging, wrinkles, sun damage and brown spots,” says Dallas dermatologist Dr. Carol Alonso. “We also know this UVA ray is the biggest culprit for skin cancers.”
In every bulb researchers tested, they found the protective coating around the phosphor – which creates the light inside the bulb – was cracked allowing ultraviolet rays to escape.
And that worries Fort Worth mom Kally Walton.
“We get so much environmental damage on our skin when we’re outside that it’s nice to feel like you don’t have to wear sunscreen and be at risk when you’re inside,” says Walton.
But before you throw out your CFLs, researchers say their results are based on lab tests.
And so far, there are no known cases of sunburn from the light bulbs.
“We’re not telling people to throw away these bulbs,” says lead research Miriam Raffelovich. “They are energy efficient, it’s just a matter of distance.”
For now, researchers recommend a two-foot buffer between you and the bulbs — whether they’re in an overhead fixture or a lamp.
The compact fluorescent industry issued a statement saying “the levels of u-v radiation are acceptably low” and went on to say they’re safe under normal use.
The FDA also says CFLs are safe.
But if you’re still worried about the risk, the FDA says you can buy bulbs that have an additional coating to further reduce UV exposure.
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