Energy: Light Bulbs

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st July 2009.

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Photo of Lord Hoyle Lord Hoyle Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any dangers to people's health arising from the use of fluorescent tubes, low-energy bulbs, halogens and LEDs.

Photo of Lord Darzi of Denham Lord Darzi of Denham Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

In negotiations with the European Commission with regard to implementation of regulation 244/2009 concerning the domestic lighting part of the eco-design of energy-saving products directive 2005/32/EC, the Government successfully pressed for health impacts to be considered and for limits to be set on ultraviolet radiation emissions from compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Since early on in the negotiation process, the Government have been in discussion with clinicians and support groups for partially sighted people and people with certain light-sensitive and neurological conditions about low-energy lighting.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) tested a sample of CFLs and found that some emitted UVR which could, under certain conditions, expose people above international guidelines. As a result of its findings the HPA issued precautionary advice on 9 October 2008 to the general public concerning the use of open CFLs in close-working situations. The HPA's advice can be found at www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb& HPAwebStandard/HPAwebC/1223445516605?p =1153822623869

The HPA's research was considered alongside other available evidence to inform a report by the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). SCENIHR's opinion on light sensitivity can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/energy-saving-lamps/index.htm.

In December 2008, the Government prepared an impact assessment, including health aspects, relating to regulation 244/2009. The impact assessment was published on the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website and is being transferred to the Business Innovation and Skills Department website.

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