Energy-saving light bulbs ‘are threat to epileptics’
The ‘green’ light bulbs which will be made compulsory in British homes can cause people with epilepsy to experience symptoms similar to the early stages of a fit.
The charity Epilepsy Action says that those with the condition are complaining of dizziness, loss of focus and discomfort after being exposed to light from the energy-saving bulbs. The cause of the problem is not known as the bulbs do not flicker at the rate that would normally cause ill-effects.
But the issue has become prominent because of EU plans to phase out all traditional bulbs within two years and replace them with low-energy versions. Almost half a million people in the
Answering a parliamentary question, Health Minister Ivan Lewis said: It is known some people with epilepsy may be affected by energy-saving light bulbs. We have made no assessment of the number of such people affected.
Conservative MP Geoffrey Cox last night called on the Government to investigate the health effects and devise a policy that will enable sufferers to acquire these bulbs without ill-effects. In March, Tony Blair and fellow EU leaders agreed to phase out old-fashioned bulbs in private homes by 2009 to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions. It is likely there will be a ban on the sale of the older bulbs.
Epilepsy Action confirmed they had taken calls from people complaining of problems with the new bulbs. A spokesman said: ‘There are no reports of seizures – it is more reports of discomfort similar to the symptoms that come before a seizure. The research into this is still at an early stage. It has just come to our attention and we are starting to look into it.’
Dr Arnold Wilkins, a professor of psychology at
There have also been complaints of discomfort from people with lupus.
The Department of Health said: ‘This is a developing area and we have no further comment.’