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]

Sources:

[1] The Blaze

[2] Daily Mail

Energy Gain UK


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Marijuana Could be a Viable Treatment for Migraines for Many

Yet another study shows the natural healing power of marijuana, and it could give hope to the millions of people who suffer from chronic migraines.

Risks of Migraine Medications

Migraines aren’t just agonizing, they can also be terrifying. That throbbing, crippling pain in your head make some people pass out, and could even increase your risk of stroke, for one thing.

In my early 20’s I had severe migraines on an almost daily basis. Now in my mid-30s, they are few and far between (thank goodness). When I do get one, all I want to do is lock myself in a dark room. Doing anything else makes me incredibly nauseous.

A decade ago, I got rid of my migraines by popping a medication called Zomig. It worked…but it’s not always the best option, especially if you’re on other medications.

Zomig is part of a class of drugs called triptans. Another popular triptan migraine drug you may have heard of is Imitrex. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in 2006 about a potentially life-threatening condition known as serotonin syndrome that can be caused by taking triptans and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Just one of many risks.

Serotonin syndrome causes a wide variety of symptoms, including confusion, agitation, mania, hallucinations, headache, coma, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, diarrhea, racing heartbeat, fever, tremor, muscle twitching, shivering, and overactive reflexes.

If left untreated, serotonin syndrome can actually lead to seizures and even death. If you have no idea it exists, you’re less likely to seek help for it, and more likely to think you just have some strange flu.

What The Study Says

That’s why this study is so exciting. More than 120 people diagnosed with migraines who were treated with medical marijuana between January 2010 and September 2014 saw their number of headaches fall from just over 10 to less than 5 per month.

Senior author Laura Borgelt, a professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, called it “a substantial improvement.”

Edible marijuana seemed to work best for migraine prevention, while inhaled marijuana seemed to be the most effective at treating migraines.

For years migraine sufferers have claimed marijuana eased their pain, but this is the first study to substantiate their claims. As with all first-time studies, more research is needed. Clinical trials are unlikely at this point, sadly, because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Let’s hope that changes really soon.

Even without the clinical trials, medical marijuana could be a viable option for migraine patients in the 23 states where it’s legal, including California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington.

Some got better, others got worse.

But researchers say marijuana won’t work for everyone’s migraines. Fifteen study participants experienced no change in their number of headaches, and 3 people said weed made their migraines worse.

The study’s senior author Laura Borgelt, Pharm.D., F.C.C.P., said:

“There was a substantial improvement for patients in their ability to function and feel better. Like any drug, marijuana has potential benefits and potential risks. It’s important for people to be aware that using medical marijuana can also have adverse effects.”

Scientists aren’t sure why marijuana works to prevent and treat migraines (not that it would likely matter to people who get relief from it). What we know is that there are cannabinoid receptors all through the body, including connective tissues and immune system.

These receptors seem to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Cannabinoids also seem to affect critical neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, and serotonin is believed to play a major role in migraine headaches, according to Borgelt.

Overall, the study concluded with:

“The frequency of migraine headache was decreased with medical marijuana use. Prospective studies should be conducted to explore a cause-and-effect relationship and the use of different strains, formulations, and doses of marijuana to better understand the effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache treatment and prophylaxis.”

The study is published in the journal Pharmacotherapy.

Sources:

Medical Daily

U.S. News & World Report

PsychCentral


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EPA Delays Rule That Would Help Prevent Pesticide Poisoning

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has delayed a safety rule aimed at ensuring that pesticides (which are linked to human health problems) are safely applied by adult agricultural workers. This, just days after 50 farm workers in California were sickened by pesticide poisoning. [1]

The Certification of Pesticide Applications safety rule had been scheduled to go into effect on March, 2017, but the EPA has proposed delaying it until May, 2018. The rule would require that workers be 18 years old to apply atrazine, chlorpyrifos, and other restricted-use pesticides for agricultural use. In addition, the rule would enforce other protections for workers applying pesticides out in the field.

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

The public was given less than a week to comment on the EPA’s proposed delay, which falls short of the 30 days federal agencies traditionally give for open comment periods, according to Colin O’Neil, the agriculture policy director at Environmental Working Group (EWG).

“In general, federal agencies normally hold open comment periods ranging from 30 to 60 days and in certain circumstances, when the issue is complex or the rule-making is complex, they extend it up to 180 days. It’s nearly unheard of, and very unprecedented, for agencies to have such short public comment periods.”

O’Neil’s fear: That the move sets a precedent for future public comment solicitations.

“This has an alarming tone for how the EPA under the Trump administration plans to solicit public comments and shows how the brazen disregard for the public’s input on issues important to parents, families, and kids’ health.”

The EPA says that “the agency has determined that a full 30-day comment period is impractical, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest.”

Pesticide Dangers – Atrazine and Chlorpyrifos

Atrazine is one of the most commonly-applied pesticide in the United States. It’s mainly applied to corn, and is a known hormone disruptor that is linked to decreased fetal development, and increased risk of miscarriage and abdominal defects. It is also a possible carcinogen, according to the Pesticide Action Network.

Chlorpyrifos is similar to atrazine, but is mainly applied to oranges, apples, and other fruits. It attacks the nervous system, and short-term exposure can cause weakness, nausea, and headaches. Exposure to the pesticide over longer periods can lead to neurodevelopmental issues, lower IQ among children, and can act as an endocrine disruptor.

The Obama administration mulled banning chlorpyrifos, but Trump’s EPA has rejected calls to ban it outright, citing a need to “provide regulation certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos.”

The Need for more Research and Safety Protocols

There is currently no minimum age to how old farmworkers must be to apply pesticides, and it’s a downright crime. Research has shown that children who live near pesticides applied to soy – including chlorpyrifos – suffer serious genetic damage. Chlorpyrifos has also been linked to brain disorders in children.

O’Neil said:

“For the first time, EPA was going to make sure that kids and youths are not applying restricted-use pesticides. We felt it was alarming and appalling that the Trump administration would put aside health and safety in further delaying this important rule aimed at protecting farmworkers and young Americans from dangerous pesticides.”

Restricted-use pesticides are defined by the EPA as those with the “potential to cause unreasonable adverse effects to the environment and injury to applicators or bystanders without added restrictions.” [2]

By law, anyone who applies restricted-use pesticides must complete safety training. The proposed rule would have required workers who use the pesticides to be re-trained every 5 years, as well as to “verify the identity of persons seeking certification.”

In early May, more than 50 farmworkers in Bakersfield, California, were sickened when a nearby mandarin orchard was sprayed with a chlorpyrifos-based pesticide. A dozen farmworkers sought medical attention, but the others left before medical personnel and local authorities arrived. Officials believe they may have left because they were undocumented workers. [1]

Jeannie Economos, the project coordinator for Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health at the Farmworker Association of Florida, said:

“We had farmworkers tell us outright that their contractors or their supervisors will tell them ‘if you complain, I’m going to turn you into immigration. Whether they would or they won’t isn’t the point, but it’s enough of an intimidation and threat to the farmworkers to not stand up for their rights.”

Sources:

[1] Think Progress

[2] Mother Jones

U.S. Geological Survey


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