cfls in the news

June 29, 2010


I have not been updating this blog.  I have been working hard on building my solo business.  I had to go solo to be able to create a lifestyle that kept me completely away from fluorescent lighting.  It takes time to manage and build a business….thus, this blog gets put on the back burner.  A nice healthy non-fluorescent back burner, of course.

I see however that this blog gets regular hits every day.  That makes this one very important topic,if it still gets hits, yet I have never marketed it.   I’m going to follow up on most recent developments of the ‘ban incandescent’ policies.  And keep stockpiling incandescents.  If you have more info on where things are standing, or if you are aware of further reports via Global TV or others, please please share here!

Ps. I’m a life coach and creativity consultant.  Please feel free to stop by!

Fortunately for me, I have passions in areas that produce an income.. and I do spend most of my time there.  If you’ve come across this blog and want to ‘talk’, share info for a post, tell your story, I am not far away and am happy to add this to the blog.   You can comment here to reach me, or you are most welcome to email me at

Today a car dealer turned off the fluorescent lights so I could come in.  Sometimes we just gotta ask.

How bad is it?

January 29, 2009

Given the opportunity to present a workshop for a large number of people for a large amount of money, I will have to turn it down if a large enough facility with windows or lighting other than fluorescent is not available. (Providing halogen lamps is becoming a challenge… since they took a hit as a fire hazard, there just aren’t that many places selling any sort of halogen lamp. )

That’s how bad reactions to fluorescents can be.  And now when these opportunities come up, I have to clarify that CFLs are fluorescent.  Many people think they are the be all and end all of perfection in lighting, and aren’t even aware that they are fluorescent.

Have you had to deal with this situation? 

hmmm.Candles.. candles provide a nice atmosphere.  As long as participants don’t have to read. Oh but then there’s those darn fire regulations…

BC Hydro response

January 17, 2009

My email to BC Hydro.. (They blast the world with  the ‘value’ of the nasty CFL  bulbs):

Could you please forward this to which ever department may be interested?I have started a new blog, called “CFLs and Fluorescents -Ouch.  A blog to keep sufferers out of the dark.”

Recent Global TV research, among other research is demonstrating the challenges people are having with these lights.  The fallacy that ‘there’s no flicker’ really has nothing to do with whether a person suffers ill effects or not.  (I landed here while googling and a metatag line came up with a comment about ‘no flicker’)

I’m not anti CFLs so much as I am anti legislation eliminating other lighting options for those, like myself, who get very sick in the presence of CFLs.  I’m sending this only because it seems to me that BC Hydro is responsible for being aware of all issues good or bad that relate to a product that they promote extensively.

 I don’t need a reply, but if someone has more information, resources, or thoughts they’d like to share, I’d appreciate it

Prompt Response from BC HYDRO:

Dear Janet
 Re: Compact Florescent Light bulbs
 Thank you for contacting BC Hydro. There have been no reports from Health Canada or any other government agencies that would have us believe the bulbs are hazardous for ones health. BC Hydro will continue to monitor future studies on this issue and will certainly act in the best interest of our customers’ health and safety.

 We can be contacted at, by email at or call us at (604) 224-9376 or toll free 1-800-224-9376, Monday to Friday (7am-8pm) or Saturdays (9am-5pm).



Well that’s one way of looking at things.  Keep on going until someone like  Health Canada recognizes the problem. I’ll go check into Health Canada now.

Of course another way they might have looked at it is… “gee, we have been hearing about problems.  Maybe we will look into this further, and if in fact there is a problem, we will step on board to ensure alternative lighting opportunities exist for our customers.   After all we have more resources and more power to get answers.”  

But hey, I am not faulting them… an email goes to a customer service agent, who gets a legitimate answer as quickly as possible, and then gets back to the inundation of other work that has to be done.  She has done her job well.

I know you’re looking

January 8, 2009

Please feel free to comment.. share your thoughts. Stories. Cynicism. Optimism. Successes.  Lighting disasters.  Best deals on incandescent bulbs.  And candles. Your preferred lighting options.  

I know. Maybe we can build community halls  for the electromagnetically challenged.

If you were a politician..

January 6, 2009

If you were  a politician and it became clear that the public was demanding more attention to environmental issues, and a very clever corporation or two swooped in with all the benefits of Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, would you be first to jump on board?  Would you want to be noted as a leader in creating policies, funding awareness campaigns, etc etc.  Hey, that’s one helluva a way to ensure you get the votes.  

Or would you say ‘whoaaa, let’s first check the accuracy of the statements by the producers of CFL’s.” or “Mercury, you say? Seriously, this is what you want to promote in place of incandescents?” or might you ask, “Okay, how come fluorescents are all well and good now, when only a few years ago businesses were being told to shut them off, get their employees into more natural lights, etc, etc?”.   Might you be easily convinced that the CFL’s don’t ‘flicker’ therefore can’t cause problems? 

It’s true, unfortunately, if you don’t jump on the bandwagon, you get left behind unnoticed.    What would you do if you were a politician?   Maybe we need a new hero who recognizes that the route the bandwagon is going is a little off course.

It’s also true, unfortunately, if you don’t jump on the bandwagon, you get left in the dark. Quite literally for those of us who have fluorescent light issues.   So jump on board, my friends, add your comments!

I’d like for this blog to provide resources, support and encouragement, and be a forum that ensures people who suffer from fluorescent light issues, including the nasty  Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL’s),  have other options should the government* really insist on banning incandescent bulbs. There’s power in numbers.  Please comment. Please share your resources. Let’s find a way for those of us affected by those nasty fluorescents to not be left in the dark. 

About me:  All of my life I have been adversely affected by fluorescent lighting.  As time passes, I  get worse.  As technology ‘advances’  I get sicker.  And so, I have created a life away from fluorescents, building a business from home, using an old fashioned CRT monitor and TV (because the new ones are fluorescent backlit!), eliminating from my life a lot of places I’d probably like to go, but don’t because my $800 glasses that are supposed to help, don’t. 

Having said that, I’m living a good life.  It’s not easy to build a business when avoiding in-person presentations and potential networking situations, but I am doing it.  I love my profession as a life coach, and my life as an artist and writer.  I can play outside as much as I want, and most recently I discovered that I don’t suffer light issues as much  in Turkey and Greece.  (Hmm.. maybe I need to move there!)  I’d like to learn more about this.  I’d like to learn more about lighting issues that may be playing a role in a whole society of people who are unwell as a result of lighting and may not even know it.   I want to understand ‘dirty energy.’   My neurologist once diagnosed me as having a migraine reaction to fluorescent lighting, even developing into an allergy.. but he even said he’s not certain.  

We can make a difference: More people sharing, more power, more opportunity for doctors to learn more, more people to get on board, and more resources being developed for those of us afflicted.

And hey, maybe even disability insurance companies will help some of you.  They certainly did not help me.   But then, it was hard for me to push this.  Somehow it just seemed more positive to move on and live my life the way I wanted and needed to.   In retrospect, some financial support in this transition certainly would have been very helpful, and I hope that this becomes a reality for others.

There you go.  That’s why I’m here.  If you ever felt like kicking down the display of CFL’s in your local hardward store, then that’s why you’re here. 

Let’s make a difference.

*I am referring to the Canadian Government, although I am aware of incandescent bans in other countries.  PLease tell us your story no matter where you are. This is a global issue.

I’m one of the extreme in reactions to fluorescent bulbs – with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs  (CFL’s) causing even more suffering than all the fluorescents before them.   Tonight Global TV 16:9 talked about the concerns..  from skin sensitivity to dirty energy to migraines to mercury.  This has ‘kicked me in gear’ again to do what I can to help others be aware of the issues of fluorescents and CFL’s. 

I have a lot to say about this subject.  The legislation that will ban incandescent lighting will put me in the dark.

But for starts I am putting here what I have just sent to Global TV. I am so grateful for their efforts to create awareness on this very serious issue.

From: Janet []
Sent: January-04-09 7:59 PM
To: ‘’
Subject: cfl bulbs.. I’ve had to change my life. Here’s my response from MP Paul Dewar (2007)


Thank you Thank you Thank you for your show on CFL’s.  I have been doing what I can to create awareness of the challenges some people have due to fluorescents, and even worse challenges with CFL bulbs. I’ve had to leave my job, am attempting to create a business that keeps me out of lights, and have been collecting incandescents for the future.   


I’ve written MP’s, written CFL manufacturer’s, followed the development of new technology for LED etc, etc.   I am extreme in my reaction to all fluorescents.. I get confused, get a headache, nauseated and will throw up if in the lights for more than a few minutes.  Because of the extreme way I am affected, I think that my pleas are ignored because my reaction is rare.  It’s easy to ignore one person… and even easier to ignore it entirely when a large portion of the population may be affected, but do not know it.


I have known since day one that the CFL bulbs are the most damaging of all for me.


If I can do anything at all to help awareness, research, be a guinea pig, whatever… to ensure that alternative lighting is available for those of us affected by fluorescents, I’d be happy to assist. If you have resources, or requests for people like myself to do more, please please let me know.

 After your show tonight, I’m inspired to create a new blog that may help others.


Again, thank you for your huge part in making a difference.   For your information, my letter and response to MP Paul Dewar (2007) are included below.



Janet L Whitehead


From: Janet []
Sent: March 10, 2007 4:31 AM
To: Dewar, Paul – M.P.
Subject: Incandescent ban will put me and others in the dark

Attn: Paul Dewar,  NDP  MP, Canada



The Kamloops Daily News reported today that the federal government is considering a ban on incandescent light bulbs in favour of fluorescents, and has given your name as a key supporter of this proposal.    Fluorescent lighting makes me extremely ill. (nausea, headache, confusion, numbness..severe vomiting if I try to stay past initial symptoms)   I’ve spent thousands of dollars in glasses to help, but am now simply not able to be in fluorescent lighting, and have been told by neurologist not to be exposed to fluorescent lights.  I am aware that I am extreme, but I am also aware that a great many people are bothered by fluorescent lights.  (How many times have you heard people say, toward the end of the day, that they “have a headache”, “are tired”, “are glad to be getting out of these lights”?)


There is a syndrome called Irlen syndrome and I am in the process of asking these diagnosticians to contact MP’s with their statistics and facts on how many children are severely affected by fluorescent lighting in school.   The diagnosticians are usually teachers, and they have discovered that lighting changes, plus filters in glasses, are helping children with ADD, ADHD, Autism, learning disabilities and dyslexia.  This syndrome is not just about fluorescents, it’s about light sensitivity. … with a good portion of people affected having trouble with fluorescents.


A complete ban of incandescent lighting would literally put me in the dark.  I am able to use halogen lighting, but I have not been able to find out what the future of halogen is. If you can send me in the right direction to learn more about that, I would greatly appreciate that.  I am most comfortable in incandescent lighting, and daylight.  I cannot use the new LCD or plasma TVs or LCD computer monitors.. all are fluorescent backlit.  There is a lot of information on the internet regarding people struggling with LCD monitors and TV’s. For instance please see:    


 A complete ban on incandescents will have me working by candlelight, will prevent me from even being able to visit friends and family who currently avoid fluorescent use because of me.  (AND they often discover, they really prefer the incandescent) 


So is it fair to ban incandescents entirely?  Where have all the studies gone from the past 25 years that showed the negative impact of fluorescents on people at work?  I know the claims that the fluorescent technology has improved.. but I only get worse each time.   My daughters are also negatively affected by fluorescents, though not as extreme.   And I hear people constantly complaining about their lights at work.   I’ve often wondered how much this costs the medical system… without people actually being aware that it could simply be fluorescent lighting that is wearing them down.


I’m all for helping the environment.  But we, who are adversely affected by fluorescent lighting, need to have options.  It’s that simple.


I would appreciate hearing back from you and would like to know what I do next to ensure that people have the option of incandescent lighting.  A ban, of course,  will end the production of incandescent lights.


Thank you so much for listening.  


Janet Whitehead

250 376-8353


From: Dewar, Paul – M.P. []
Sent: March-22-07 7:41 AM
To: Janet
Subject: RE: Incandescent ban will put me and others in the dark


Dear Janet,


Thank you for writing regarding my Bill to phase out the sale and use of incandescent light bulbs.  I am proud to have taken this small step forward towards a more environmentally sustainable society.


As I have mentioned, the most common replacement for incandescent bulbs currently is the use of Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs). I recognize that this is not always the perfect replacement for the phasing out of incandescents though. I can assure you that I am aware of your concerns and the broader implications of CFL use.


It is important to note that CFLs do contain trace amounts of mercury. While the amount is not large enough to be considered a hazard to users, it does become a concern at landfills and trash incinerators where the mercury can escape and contribute to air and water pollution. However, it is important to note that coal power plants are the single largest source of mercury emissions into the environment and that using energy-efficient alternatives to incandescent lights will help reduce mercury pollution overall. 


The Bill, as it is being drafted, does not specifically recommend the replacement of incandescents with CFLs. Technological advances and new technologies exist or are quickly emerging addressing many of the complications with CFLs and offering viable alternatives. A number of industry leaders have already produced CFLs with significantly reduced mercury content. Additionally, dimmer switch compatible CFLs are publicly available.


Alternatively, Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs are also being developed and introduced into the market. LED light bulbs utilize entirely different technologies than CFLs and offer another opportunity to reduce our energy consumption.


I am pleased to be working with the many different stakeholders involved in this transition process who are working to find creative solutions to the challenges that will lie ahead.


The phasing out of incandescent light bulbs is one of many alternatives that can help place Canada on the path towards ensuring environmental security and sustainability. I am proud to offer solutions to ordinary Canadians so they can participate in the fight against climate change.


Thank you for taking the time to write to me and share your views on this subject. I hope that I have addressed your concerns.




Paul Dewar, MP

Ottawa Centre