One of the easiest things that you can do in your home to lower your EMF exposure could be to simply change your light bulbs. There are basically three types of light bulbs: incandescent, fluorescent, and LED. The question becomes which one should you get and why.
Fluorescent or compact fluorescent (CFL) should be avoided whenever possible. Here some reasons:
- They give off a frequency that will generate current in your body based on proximity. If you are within a few inches of these (which you can find yourself at times if they are in lamps), you will have more than 18 microamps running through your body. 18 microamps is the point at which biological processes relevant to cancer take place as read here.. If you have been to a workshop I have done, I show this. I also show you this during a home inspection.
- The gas in the bulbs contains mercury. Mercury is toxic. If you were to break the bulb proper cleaning requires what amounts to a hazmat cleanup.
- They produce dirty electricity. All the fluorescent bulbs that I have tested do this. There may be some that don’t, however I have not seen them. Yes, filters clean this aspect of the bulb, but it is easier to fix a problem if you don’t create one in the first place.
- The ballast in the bulb can give off large magnetic fields. This comes more into play when you are in close proximity to the bulb.
Incandescent bulbs (as well as halogen bulbs) are the easiest thing to replace CFL bulbs in your home with. They do use more power, however the only thing they emit is heat. No dirty electricity and no frequencies. This is what I recommend people to start with. Any brand of incandescent will do.
The last bulb is LED. LEDs are tricky because some are good but many are not. You must test them to find out which is which. You can’t just look at a description, or tell from looking at the box. Most LED bulbs that I have tested will create varying amounts of dirty electricity. To test this, you will need at least 4 things:
- A microsurge meter which you can buy through here
- A lamp
- A power strip
- An outlet that has a low GS reading (which can be measured with the microsurge meter) at least <50 the lower the better. For some this might mean installing filters in your home to achieve this. The lower the number the better your results will be.
Once you have these the process is simple. Plug the lamp and microsurge into the powerstrip, (which is plugged into an active outlet) and then read the number on the microsurge meter. Turn the lamp on, with the bulb you want to test, and if that number is higher than what you started with then the bulb is no good. If it stays the same, it is good. Easy as that. Please note when you turn on the light the microsurge meter will go up and come back down. This is due to an arc that happens when you make the circuit which is normal.
In summary: Use incandescent bulbs unless you can test LED bulbs, because some LED are ok but many are not. If you are looking for place to start with LED bulbs email me at email@example.com and I can get you pointed in the right direction based on your need. NEVER USE CFLs, and if you have them in your home now, get rid of them. Replace them with incandescent bulbs.
4 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Light Bulbs”
Darnell, You didn’t mention halogen bulbs. Why not? One EMF expert recommends & uses halogen bulbs himself, because, he says, they are clean but use 30% less energy than incandescent. Another EMF expert recommends incandescent, f/ lowest (or no?) EMFs. (I don’t know which they are…no EMFs? Are both halogen & incandescent bulbs equally both clean, & EMF free? (w/ only important distinction/diff. being that halogen use less energy? Are there any other issues w/ or distinctions btwn. the 2 bulbs types that would cause one to be recommended more highly than the other?… where EMFs, & etc. are concerned? (f/ ex., energy savings, heat out-put, flickering, UV damage to fabric, artwork, etc., & color spectrum (pleasing to the eyes), & brightness) Being a physics guy, (like my brother), can you compare the 2 using the above criteria, but particularly zero in on the EMF comparison of the two, & then broaden the comparisons beyond that, if both are equivalent to ea. other as far as zero EMFs are concerned? Or, do both have zero EMFs??
I have an article link comparing incandescent, halogen, & LED. (CFLs or fluorescents, shouldn’t even be in the line-up, they are so harmful to health.), but this does not compare the 3 from the standpoint of EMFs. I’ll share that comparison article if you’d like to see.) Wanna research this, & include halogen in w/ your comparisons, especially an EMF comparison of the 2 types of bulbs?
A halogen bulb is a more efficient version of an incandescent, both are good. They are both good because they both use a linear load which means they don’t create dirty electricity. A halogen is more efficient than an incandescent in terms of power usage and can last longer, hence the reason for the EMF expert to recommend them. You also don’t need to test any of these. Some of the issues that you run into now with the incandescent and also halogen is the heat that is created with these bulbs. Incandescent are also becoming harder to find, but if you can they are normally in multi packs which makes replacing your lighting a little more cost effective. With the recent push towards lower wattage and and saving energy you need to watch the max wattage recommendations for lamps and other lighting fixtures otherwise you risk melting lamps or worse. If LED are made to account for dirty electricity, and some are, then these would be the best option because they use the least amount of power and don’t recreate dirty electricity. However you need to test LED’s to see if they ‘good’ or not. If you don’t want to test bulbs then go with halogen or incandescent.
When you start getting into full spectrum light with LED’s then you add in more variables and need to test more things like contact current generated from the bulb and dirty electricity. It then comes down to what you value most and what you are trying to accomplish. Much of this will depend on what applications that you using. If you have sensitivities to some kinds of light then that would need to be taken into account as well. A filter will filter out the higher frequencies a light bulb may create but it makes more sense to start with the right light bulbs, unless you need certain types of lighting. It is also more cost effective. In terms of just trying to keep it simple then then I would get rid of any CFL’s that you have IMMEDIATELY with a halogen or incandescent. If you have LED’s replace them with a halogen or incandescent until you can verify they are good or not (you need a meter for this) and go from there.
Thank you so much for creating this incredibly helpful website! I appreciate all your knowledge and guidance for myself and my family (we have three kids).
I also had a question about halogen lights. I’ve read that halogen bulbs produce much cooler light, which is much higher in levels of blue light. So the recommendation I’ve heard is that you should not put it in your bedroom for example. I’ve also read that they produce more heat than “normal” incandescents, along with more EMF radiation, and that they give off “loads” of UV radiation” which is harmful. Is this true?
It’s confusing, because where I live in Sweden there are almost no way to get incandescent lightbulbs anymore, but you are still able to get regular halogen bulbs (and now they’re disappearing too). What do you think? Is the above information correct or are halogen and incandecent both “good” in terms of EMFs?
Many thanks for your help, I really appreciate it!
All best, Ulrica.
CFL’s are the ones that will give large amounts of UV radiation. This can then cause high amounts of current to travel across the skin. By high I mean > 18 microamps which is where biological processes relevant to cancer start. That is not a big number. This is the common type of lighting used in tanning beds which is where the skin cancer and tanning beds connection comes into play. You also find these in many ‘full spectrum’ lighting and/or ‘mood’ lighting. These are the bulbs to avoid first.
Halogen and incandescent will not make dirty electricity because they use a linear load. They are not the most energy efficient. Some LED will produce dirty electricity some will not you have to test. Having LED’s that don’t produce dirty electricity is good because it will also help reduce dirty electricity that is already present in a home. This leads to you needing less mediation in other places. Since CFL’s will give off a UV radiation this makes them the worse type of light bulb to have. Many also produce dirty electricity, but it is the UV factor that makes them the worst kind to have from an EMF standpoint.
Halogens from a EMF standpoint focusing on dirty electricity and body current are good because the don’t produce any. Halogen and incandescent are tied for #1. You also don’t have to focus on brands when you buy these as you would with LED since some are good and some are not. It makes it easier and cheaper to make changes in your life without having to invest a lot of money in equipment.