When you consider all the devices that are EMF’ing us (i.e. microwaves, cell phones, WiFi)… it’s easy to overlook a nefarious EMF’r: The Light Bulb… And light bulb radiation has only gotten worse with LED, CFL, and smart bulbs.
Light Bulb EMF Radiation Basics
In a nutshell, the term EMF covers all the invisible electric and magnetic fields that are created by anything that powers on: power lines, cell towers, TVs, WiFi, smartwatches, etc… the list goes on and on. Sometimes you’ll hear terms like: RF, ELF, EMI… They are all EMF, just different slices of the EMF pie. With regard to light bulbs the two slices that are most concerning are ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) radiation and EMI (ElectroMagnetic Interference) radiation – most often called: Dirty Electricity. Some new smart bulbs have WiFi or Bluetooth capability which emit RF (Radio Frequency) radiation… Stay away!
If you’re new to EMF, here’s the skinny: EMF is bad. How bad…? It’s hard to say, but we do know that it can lead to increased risk of childhood leukemia, infertility in men, and even cancer (to name just a few). I’d say that’s pretty bad. But everyone and their dog has a different opinion about EMF. It’s like we are in one big EMF’n experiment! The standards around EMF haven’t changed since 1996, and we keep adding more of it into our environment. With so many devices, the compounded effects of EMF have become dangerous to our health. That’s why we need to make our homes an EMF sanctuary… a place where our bodies can rest and rejuvenate from all the EMF we get in our day-to-day activities.
For about 150 years, the incandescent light bulb (very similar to the one Thomas Edison invented in 1878) was the primary bulb used across the world. It was designed around electrical power grids of 50 Hz or 60 Hz. You don’t need to understand what 50 & 60 Hz means… The thing to keep in mind is that electricity can’t really be throttled back… it goes somewhere, either all 50-60 Hz go through the bulb or it gets bounced back through the electrical wiring causing dirty electricity. In incandescent bulbs, the full flow of electricity pulses through the filament, heating it up, and letting it glow. It creates a fair amount of heat in these bulbs, and that’s why they are not as efficient. The new, energy efficient bulbs don’t need the full 50-60 Hz, so we get a whole lot more EMF.
Now you’ve got a decision to make… What’s more important: Long-term health, or short-term savings on utilities?
If you’re going to fight against EMF, you need to have a long-term mindset and value your health. Remember that good health will save you thousands of dollars down the road!
You still with me? Good. Now that you are in this for long-term health, you’ll need to get an EMF meter measure dirty electricity and other EMF around your home. For beginners, I recommend the GQ EMF-390 all-in-one. You’ll use the meter to see if Dirty Electricity is a problem by taking a reading with all the lights on and then again with all the lights off. If the readings drop when you turn off the lights then you have Dirty Electricity on your hands. Changing bulbs to incandescent will help with this, but in some cases a filter is required to neutralize the Dirty Electricity.
TIP: Using an old AM radio is the cheapest way to find out if you have Dirty Electricity. It will interrupt the signal as you get closer to the source.
Best light bulbs (safest)
In this case, old-school is best! Incandescent light bulbs will create little to no dirty electricity. Your electric bill will be a little higher, but the bulbs aren’t expensive either. The problem with these is that there are less and less of them on the market. So be sure to stock-up while they are still around.
One great option is by Sunlite, which sells a 48-pack of incandescent bulbs (prices vary by wattage). One pack and you’ll be set.
Next best light bulbs (if you have to)
If incandescent light bulbs aren’t available for you, then LED is your next best option. The trouble with LED bulbs is that they are not all created equal… some produce more EMF and Dirty Electricity than others. You really have to buy one and test it. One that has been tested and I recommend is Phillips LED Non-Dimmable, and typically cost a little more than two dollars a bulb.
If using LED bulbs, you’ll find some that are low on EMF but the dirty electricity is high. If that is the case, you can install a filter to get the dirty electricity levels lower.
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Worst light bulbs (avoid)
CFL bulbs are definitely the worst!
CLF stands for Compact Fluorescent Lights. These are the swirly-twirly bulbs. Avoid them at all costs! They light by up using mercury (so so toxic) inside the bulb. They are high in EMF, Dirty Electricity, and blue light. We haven’t talked about Blue light much, but it’s really hard on your eyes and can even damage them if you get too much exposure. The blue light also messes with your body’s melatonin production, making it difficult to fall asleep. Do your best to avoid these bulbs and any electronics with a screen an hour before bed so you can fall asleep faster and get a better nights rest.
Chances are that you may have a lot of CLF bulbs in your home… And it can get expensive to replace them all. If that’s the case, then replace them out in the areas you spend the most time and go from there. Be sure to dispose of your CFL bulbs in an environmentally safe way.
Tips to minimize light bulb radiation
Let’s quickly recap! Tips and suggestions to get started:
- Using natural sunlight is really the best option. Open those windows!
- Use incandescent bulbs wherever possible
- LED is the next best option… But test them
- Get rid of CFL bulbs ASAP
- Develop “Turn-the-lights-off” habits
- Create as much distance between light bulbs and people as possible
- Avoid dimmer switches/bulbs
- Use Dirty Electricity filters if levels are still too high.
Escaping light bulb radiation (EMF and Dirty Electricity) is near impossible nowadays. That’s why you need to make every effort to minimize your exposure. It’s not difficult. Some mindfulness and building good habits will go a long way to cut EMF and improve your health.