Do No Harm – And No Alarm

by Einar Du Rietz

Unintended consequences are the curse and irony of politics. The recent study, ordered by the Swiss government, and published by the institute ITIS, on the possible electromagnetic radiation from low energy light bulbs, confirms this once again.

The radiation levels turned to be so high, that the Swiss government found it necessary to issue a recommendation to keep a distance of at least 30 cm, or an arms length, from the light bulbs.

Don’t be afraid! The levels are still too low to be of any immediate danger. Instead be angry at the European parliament, which, lobbied by vested interests is banning good old, ordinary light bulbs.

cfl-bulb

These news come after the earlier warning against the low energy lamps. The mercury they contain is most likely a worse hazard than the radiation, with warnings issued from the authorities to be careful, leave and close the room if a lamp is broken and take particular precautions at disposal.

Even though these hazards are probably not that grave, I would like the parliamentarians to explain why they think it’s within their mandate to expose people to danger, with vague environmental arguments. I have nothing against low energy light bulbs, but I prefer the old ones, and I especially prefer to have the right to choose for myself.

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.