Autumn 2012 True Natural Health Magazine – Your Questions Answered
By Roger French


QUESTION:   Which type of lamp do you recommend – halogen or CFL? I know that both emit some EMR. Are either of these OK if not too close to your head? 



These are big questions that many people would like answered.

Halogen lamps.  There are now two kinds of halogen lights/lamps – those with and those without a transformer (a transformer converts 240 volt mains power to 12 volts for the appliance). Recessed ceiling lights are nearly all halogen these days. Our affiliated electrical-engineer says there is normally no problem with halogen lights in the ceiling, especially in a single-storey home. The exception could be that in a two-storey home a bank of transformers could be placed together and could adversely affect a person sitting or sleeping immediately above the transformers. Even this may be reasonably safe because the lights are turned off at night when people are sleeping. In addition, the height of the bed or chair places the person further from the transformers.

A halogen desk lamp is a different story, because the transformer is in the base of the lamp and could be quite close to the person’s head, which could be dangerous in the long term. Ideally the transformer needs to be at least a metre away from the head.

A solution is to have a lamp which stands on the floor with the globe at the top of a long stem. The transformer in the base should then be more than a metre away and there will be no significant problem.

A halogen lamp without a transformer is relatively free of problems. It operates directly on the 240-volt system.

Compact fluorescent lights  (or low-energy light globes) should be avoided because they produce higher magnetic fields than the old incandescent globes, and they contain mercury, one of the most toxic substances known. “In my experience,” states Lyn McLean, Director of EMR Australia Pty Ltd, “most people are much more sensitive to this form of lighting than to incandescent globes. In fact, some electrically-sensitive people are not able to tolerate this form of lighting in their homes or to be in rooms that contain these lights.”

With CFLs, it’s not distance that is creating the problems. Just having them in the house may be a problem, irrespective of where the person is located. It is not known for sure why the adverse effects occur, but it is likely to be due to the radio frequency signal, caused by the flicker from the lights, which may run through the household wiring.