Thursday, December 20, 2007

poll: Are CFLs a migraine trigger?

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House Sends President An Energy Bill to Sign
One portion of the bill sets new efficiency standards for appliances and will make the incandescent bulb -- invented two centuries ago and improved and commercialized by Edison in the 1880s -- virtually extinct by the middle of the next decade. The bill will phase out conventional incandescents, starting in 2012, with 100-watt bulbs, ultimately ceding the lighting market to more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

You may be wondering why I'm writing about energy standards on a blog about migraines. Bear with me while I explain.

As you may or may not know, fluorescent lights are an extremely common migraine trigger. The long tubes often found in offices and businesses flicker, triggering negative health effects for many migraineurs and others with health conditions such as epilepsy.

When the bill discussed above takes effect, the process of phasing out incandescent light bulbs will begin. The idea is that they will be replaced with more efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs. This is a problem because some migraineurs attacks' are triggerd by CFLs, not just the tube-shaped fluorescent bulbs.

Since this law has already been passed by Congress and signed by the President, we must determine how to react.

One idea is to be vocal about how CFLs affect you and request that your office and other places you spend time use devices with LED bulbs instead.

Another thought is to be more vigilant than ever about keeping good quality sunglasses with you. Don't be ashamed to whip them out whenever you feel the need. They do help, and it's better to get funny looks than to experience even one CFL-triggered migraine.

Finally, it may be appropriate for the migraine & headache community to speak out and seek a change to this law. It certainly will not be an easy fight, but it may be necessary to protect our quality of life.

If you have other suggestions for coping with this change or thoughts on the new law, please share them in the comments.

Energy Star Canada
How Fluorescent Lamps Work
EERE Consumer's Guide: Compact Fluorescent Lamps
Energy-Saving Light Bulbs 'Are Threat to Epileptics'

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