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University of Essex Professor Warns About Research Linking LED Lightbulbs with Frequent Headaches

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Prof. Arnold Wilkins, professor of psychology at the University of Essex, is warning that energy saving light bulbs may be increasing the frequency of headaches in their owners.

LED light bulbs, within just 20 minutes of turning them on, can cause headaches and dizziness, Prof. Wilkins warns.

It’s because they are actually flickering hundreds of times a second.

Flickering doesn’t only occur in LEDs. Florescent light bulbs flicker as well, but their brightness is only diminished by about 35 percent when they do, while LED’s brightness is diminished 100% with each flicker.

What’s more, a European Union law bans the use of halogen light bulbs, and Britain is set to phase out of halogens to make LED bulbs only available for sale by next September.

Daily Mail reports:

Professor Wilkins said the flicker from the energy-efficient bulbs is putting some people off buying them, adding: ‘People do not like the flicker, it can make them fell 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.’

[…] A study from 1989 conducted by Professor Wilkins found fluorescent lighting which flickered 100 times a second doubled the chances of office workers experiencing headaches. LED lightbulbs can flash 400 times a second – four times as often.

LED light is not just a little annoying. The Daily Mail asserts that “Flickering LED bulbs could double the chances of suffering a headache, based on previous research.”

Professor Wilkins said on the website The Conversation:

No similar study has yet been performed for LED lights. But because LED flickering is even more pronounced, with the light dimming by 100 per cent rather than the roughly 35 per cent 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.

Is it worth it to continue using LEDs in spite of their negative effects on our health? That’s obviously up to you to decide in your own home.

What’s truly remarkable is that some countries actually want to make any alternatives illegal, and stick the people with headaches whether they like it or not.



 

2 Comments

  1. N. Pollack

    July 31, 2017 at 7:26 am

    LED’s do flicker. They are a diode. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. When current flows through it it light up, when the current reverses like in AC current it goes dark. The standard AC generated in the USA is 60 cycles per second so it will flicker 60 times per second. 400 times per second? Only on aircraft that have 400 cps generators.

    • Bob

      July 31, 2017 at 8:40 am

      Except that LEDS use a driver circuit that converts it to DC before it gets to the LED. The only LEDS that flicker are the ones that use PWM dimming!

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