Eco-Grandstanding, Mercury Vapor, and Human Health

In a minor political scandal, a Canadian federal 'environmental plan' speech was leaked to the press yesterday before it was delivered. In it there is the intention for Canada to follow Australia in banning incandescent light bulbs for the sake of energy savings.
http://www.thestar.com/News/article/206903
Funnily enough, in the last issue of Professional Lighting Design, the editorial takes aim at the folly of the Australian move:
http://www.via-verlag.com/1465.0.html?&L=1
(Warning: written in German, then translated into English.....with limited success.)
More significantly, the same issue of the magazine has a significant article on the effects of mercury vapor lighting on human physiology which I noticed because of my other research into this area because of my history with SAD (treated last winter with Vitamin D with ***total*** success, BTW). From the article, it turns out that vitamin D is one of the major players in human photo-endocrinology, and is partly responsible for countering hormonal stresses induced by some types of artificial light. Here's the abstract of the article:
http://www.via-verlag.com/1471.0.html?&L=1
I have crudely scanned my copy of the full article and have made it available online here:
http://www.michaelbulatovich.ca/ArtificialLightingAndHeatlth.pdf
The very visible gesture of banning incandescent light bulbs reminds of some the other public relations gestures of the last "energy crisis", given the other ways we now waste energy, like driving SUVs on the best roads in human history. Rather than being merely foolish, it seems possible that it could have uncalculated health effects. If we're lucky, as a sanguine Sigmund Freud once said, "From error to error one discovers the entire truth."
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MichaelB
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Interesting, my stupid web is down (yet I can email and use newsgroups, go figure) so I'll check the links later. Do incandescent actually deliver Vitamin D the way the sun does? I never realized but that might explain a lot about how peoples health are affected by their workplace. Do you guys remember a little while back there was all this stuff about air quality inside of offices and how it was affecting health and stress levels. I wondered if they ever considered this factor in those types of studies.
I for one am all for these new technologies, but with lots of research. I like the idea of hybrids, but it still bothers me the amount of destruction that is caused just getting the nickel to make their batteries (among other components). I never really understood the technology and raw materials that go into solar panels, another thing I would like to look into.
It's pretty crazy to think that the light bulb was a pretty amazing invention that changed a lot of lives, and now it is going the way of the dodo. Life goes on :).
--
Edgar



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[ snip ]

As I mentioned in another post, *IIRC*, it is the near-UV that stimulated the skin to produce Vitamin D. Incandescents are red-shifted, fluorescents tend to be blue-shifted (i.e., more near-UV).

The problem with unshielded fluorescents is that they are harder on the eyes. Something to do with the shorter wavelengths - I've forgotten the details. OTOH, who hangs bare incandescents around? If one wouldn't use bare incandescents, then it makes little sense to expect that bare fluorescents are going to be easier on people's eyes. Those plastic sheets with the little pyramid-shapes all over aren't any good, either. The full- spectrum and the "warm whites" might be OK, but not the average ones.
But a simple sheet of beige-toned thin paper, even tissue paper, usually makes an adequate filter that doesn't reduce the light much at all.

The fumes from manufactured materials is a completely different issue from lighting. The fumes will cause irritation of nmoist/mucous-membrane tissues regardless of lighting, and bad lighting will cause eyestrain redgardless of whether fumes are present or absent. Both have been studied, of course - but that doesn't mean that budgets will put human comfort at the top of the "important stuff" list. Of course it is stupid, because miserable employees are inefficient employees, but that realization takes a modicum of forethought, which is a rare commodity...

Wrong, it is not going the way of the dodo, it is more liek the Galapagos Finches - it's unlikely that there are any of th e"pure" ancestral finches left, because the rigors of the habitats have forced the development of specialized subspecies.
IOW, not extinction - evolution.
- Kris
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Yes of course...that's what I meant to say :).
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Edgar



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Since it's not common for peoiple to use bare light bulbs, the use of a lampshade (translucent and of an appropriate light neutral color, of course) mitigates fluorescent lighting. Also, many fluorescents are available in "warm" tones, and there are an increasing number of Full- Spectrum lights available.
All in all, because of that, incandescents have no advantage that I know of in terms of light quality. Also, IIRC, it's the near-UV components of light which stimulate vitamin D production in humans (in the skin IIRC), and incandescents are red-shifted. All of the SAD light-therapy units I've researched use fluorescent bulbs, not incandescent.
The problem I see with fluorescents is proper disposal. Here, for example, I'd hav eto use a gallon of gas (and that is in a relatively fuel-efficient vehicle...) to get to and from the recycle center - and that one doesn't even take gglass, so I'd have to go somewhere else to drop the glass. It's hard enough to get people to rinse their cans and separate papers from plastics, never mind have them divvy it all up and then make a 30+ mile round trip to take it all to teh recycling center. Meaning, that the bulbs, when they do burn out, all end up in landfill.
One of the first peoblems, then, is adequate recycling - IOW, as part of the regular trash pick-up.

So what? Just because people drive oversized vehicles (because the current administration trashed mileage standards and allowed reduced safety standards), that means nobody is supposed to bother making any other changes/inprovements? I don't understand the logic of that.
Been using CFLs exclusively for many years, BTW.
- Kris
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I disagree. What they call "full spectrum" is actually a series of spectral spikes.

Unfortunately true, but the SAD lights on the market filter for all UV, as UV is "bad". The point of the article was to not that incandescents are good for the photo-endocrinological system, but rather that levels, and colors, of artificial light should be avoided that start that system going without providing the UV dampening effect.

You got that right.

No. The point was that this is grandstanding (making a big public gesture of limited significance) while we keep building auto-suburbs, use aluminum for disposable beverage containers, drive SUVs, etc. Making it worse is that it is done with the usual human disregard for the Law of Unintended Consequences. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequence
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MichaelB
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Edgar
"Michael Bulatovich" < snipped-for-privacy@dont.try> wrote in message
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"The DEP sent a specialist to Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter."
That's one bulb. Now knock a bike over onto a case of them, then sell the house to some unsuspecting human. It's nuts.
There are so many ways North Americans can save the same amount of energy without bringing such toxins into everyday use in the home. This is knee-jerk politics.
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I have to agree with you there from the look of things. We have such a huge resource of scientists and specialists in this world, and a simple matter of asking a question is too much for politicians. Maybe it's not the asking of the question, but getting an answer that won't get you re-elected.
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Edgar



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It's all about "OPTICS".
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