We’re surrounded by health enemies, and that’s a fact. Trouble is, they seem like such a part of everyday life, we don’t realize they might not be friends.

One enemy was born in 1974, fluorescent lights.

First, it was long tubes; now it’s curly-cue bulbs. Trouble, I say you’ve got trouble–because they all contain mercury. And they sit around giving off mercury vapors, even when they’re off.

Well, if mercury fillings are a problem, and we can’t have mercury thermometers any more, what’s with mercury vapors floating around in homes, schools, stores, offices, etc.?

Is it a problem? Oh, indeed. Just sitting around wafting mercury into our bodies when the lights are off is a bad deal, but fluorescent lights step it up when we turn them on.

“Oh, Pshaw!” you say! It’s just a dab of mercury that couldn’t hurt anybody! Well, listen to the instructions on what to do when a curly CFL bulb gets broken:

•           Open window and leave room for 15 minutes
•           Do NOT vacuum
•           Do NOT wash contaminated clothing, etc. Wrap clothing securely and discard.
•           Wear rubber gloves
•           If broken in carpet, replace carpet


And you have a problem even when the bulbs die a natural death. It turns out you’re not supposed to put them in the trash, from whence they can contaminate the truck that picks them up or the dump site where they end up. You’re supposed to take them to a hazardous waste site.

You betcha! Drive across town and hand a curly bulb to some guy in a HazMat suit who stares you in stunned wonder.

And mercury’s not the whole story.

Fluorescent bulbs do not glow; they flicker. Well, maybe fast enough so your eyes don’t notice, but never fast enough to fake out your brain. And take it from me, your brain doesn’t like all that flickering.

Flickering can cause:
•           Seizures
•           Loss of concentration
•           Hyperactivity
•           Fatigue

Then, there’s the problem that fluorescent lights create “dirty” electricity.

Electric current shows up as a sharp, undulating lines--or wavelengths. With fluorescent lights, you see what look like long, ragged smudges above and below the undulating line. The smudges represent “high frequency transients.”

Besides interfering with electronic equipment in the building, high frequency transients whack the endocrine system something fierce.

•           They  mess up the pineal gland - Less melatonin, poor sleep
•           And they mess up the adrenals - As in cortisol levels. Did you know the adrenals use melatonin to do some of what they do?
•           Whack your immune system, making you more susceptible to disease, including autoimmune diseases.

And they also cause:

•           Headaches
•           Eyestrain
•           Fatigue
•           Weight gain
•           Depression
•           Cancer risk
•           Insomnia
•           Miscarriage
•           Increase in mistakes, errors in judgment
•           Irritability
•           Increased agoraphobia symptoms
•           Worsened hyperactivity

And there’s more! “Cool white” fluorescent bulbs also:

•           Increase dental cavities
•           Cause underdeveloped male sexual organs in little boys
•           Worsen the whack to the endocrine system

Well, who knew?

Your government in action was clueless when they mandated compact fluorescent bulbs. Just say ‘no’ and get the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. (Heavy-duty incandescents are still legal; they cost more, but last longer.)

And don’t install fluorescent fixtures in your home.

As for stores, schools, office buildings, factories, hospitals and who knows where else, it’s said  covering fixtures (so you can’t see the bulbs themselves) fixes everything. I don’t know about “fixes everything,” but if fluorescent lights are there to stay, it would be nice if they were covered. Some help is better than no help.

God is good,
Bette Dowdell

Author's Bio: 

Bette Dowdell defines determination. In a really deep health ditch, with doctors who didn’t help, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. She never intended to be a health expert, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Bette’s still researching, and you can get her free health e-mails by signing up at