Professor: Here is Why Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs are Causing Headaches

A professor of psychiatry at the University of Essex in the U.K. claims LED light bulbs, which have become commonplace since the federal government began to steer buyers away from incandescent bulbs in 2007, are causing headaches, pain, and dizziness. [1]

Arnold Wilkins says LED lights dim by 100%, which means they turn on and off hundreds of times a second. Most people don’t notice the constant flickering, but in some people, it can cause nasty symptoms within just 20 minutes of turning them on.  [1] [2]

Wilkins says:

“We know from earlier work on fluorescent lighting that even though the flicker is too fast to be visible, it remains a likely health hazard. In 1989, my colleagues and I compared fluorescent lighting that flickered 100 times a second with lights that appeared the same but didn’t flicker. We found that office workers were half as likely on average to experience headaches under the non-flickering lights.

No similar study has yet been performed for LED lights. But because LED flickering is even more pronounced, with the light dimming by 100% rather than the roughly 35% of fluorescent lamps, there’s a chance that LEDs could be even more likely to cause headaches. At best, it’s likely to put some people off using LED bulbs because of the annoying, distracting effect of the flickering, which we know can be detected during saccades.” [1]

Source: Energy Gain UK

The flickering can cause headaches, pain, and dizziness by disrupting movement control of the eyes, which forces the brain to work harder. Previous research suggested that flickering LED bulbs may double a person’s chances of developing a headache. [2]

Wilkins says that many people have started avoiding purchasing the lights because of the side effects.

“People do not like the flicker, it can make them feel dizzy and unwell after about 20 minutes, and can produce disturbing anomalies of perception, such as seeing multiple images of the lamp, every time you move your eyes rapidly.”

In 2007, under the Obama administration, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, a sweeping reform bill that the federal government used to phase out most incandescent light bulbs. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush. [1]

Ten years later, LED bulbs are the most popular alternative to traditional light bulbs. According to a June 2016 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, LED-related revenue matched revenue from traditional lights that year.

General Electric estimates at least 50% of all residential lights will be LEDs by 2020.

If the LED lights in your house are making you feel sick, you can purchase a more expensive lamp with a direct current versus an alternating current so that the light remains constant. However, the lamp’s components may not last very long. [2]


[1] The Blaze

[2] Daily Mail

Energy Gain UK

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Cotton Swabs Send 3 Dozen Children to the ER Each Day

Doctors say you should never clean your ears with cotton swabs, but people reach for them anyway to scoop out the wax. According to the authors of a study in the Journal of Pediatrics, using cotton swabs to clean your ears can be dangerous, especially for children. In fact, use of these cotton swabs sends approximately 3 dozen children to the ER every day. [1]

Approximately 12,500 children under the age of 18 are treated in U.S. emergency departments for ear injuries each year, which amounts to about 34 visits per day.

Lead author Dr. Kris Jatana, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Ohio State University, says:

“This is not like brushing your teeth every day. Children and adults do not need to clean out the ear canal of wax as part of a routine hygiene practice.”

For the study, Jatana and her colleagues looked at hospital visits between 1990 and 2010 and found that an estimated 260,000 children wound up in the emergency room with ear injuries.

The most common injuries included tears in the tissue that separates the ear canal from the middle ear, known as the tympanic membrane, a.k.a the eardrum. The majority of the injuries were the result of children using cotton swabs to clean their ears.

Source: The Independent

The younger the child, the more prone they were to ear injuries. Two-thirds of the young patients were younger than 8, and 40% were age 3 or younger. [2]

Cotton swabs can slice the ear canals, perforate our eardrums, and dislocate our hearing bones. This can lead to injuries as minor as dizziness and ringing, to more significant problems like hearing loss. [1]

Should Anyone Really Use Q-Tips to Clean Their Ears?

As cleaning goes, our ears don’t really need our help. They’re self-cleaning, and there’s no reason to go digging around in them.

Jatana says:

“The two biggest misconceptions I hear as an otolaryngologist are that the ear canals need to be cleaned in the home setting, and that cotton tip applicators should be used to clean them; both of those are incorrect.” [2]

She adds:

“It’s concerning that while these products have been around for almost 100 years and many of the manufacturers put warning labels on the products stating to not use them in the ear canal, we are still seeing a significant number of injuries in children using them for the purpose of cleaning their ear canal.” [3]

Source: The Washington Post

Ear wax actually has protective, lubricating, and antibacterial properties, and its presence is perfectly normal. If you find wax on the outside of your ear, simply wipe it away with a wet cloth.

If you absolutely can’t resist cleaning out your ears, you should opt for drops, or at least reduce how often and how deep you go with those cotton tools.


[1] CNN

[2] Newser

[3] Live Science

The Independent

The Washington Post

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