John Bowis, who speaks on health and the environment for the Conservatives in the European Parliament, has put out a press release about incandescent light bulbs. A European Commission committee has proposed phasing out such bulbs by 2012, and now the Council of Ministers and European Parliament will consider the matter.
The Migraine Action Association has warned that an energy-saving bulb’s flicker rate can trigger attacks. There are also concerns because the energy-saving bulbs (which use 80 per cent less electricity for the same amount of light) contain mercury.
Mr Bowis comments:
"Energy-saving light bulbs are clearly good for the environment and we welcome the Commission’s move to reduce the use of incandescent bulbs.
However, the Commission and the British Government must be careful not to cause pain and disability in the process.
There are a number of conditions, including epilepsy, lupus, migraine, and autism, which can be adversely affected by fluorescent lighting.
We must make sure that, at the very least, incandescent bulbs continue to be readily available and that no total ban is contemplated before adequate alternatives have been researched and brought into production. This is one of those occasions where we must strike the right balance between the environment and health."
It is perhaps a bit prissy to point out that we should always strike such a balance. But it seems fair to say that the case for insisting on energy-saving bulbs has not yet been made. Why not leave it up to the individual for now?
Personally I like rooms to be as light as possible. It has a massive impact on my mood, and the reality is that I consider this a priority. Consequently I buy normal bulbs. But what do readers think – can an energy-saving bulb really shine as brightly – whilst saving me money, protecting the environment and not affecting my health?