Hey Mr. Green,
While we understand the nation's quest to better the environment, and we agree that much of the outcry regarding mercury in compact fluorescent lightbulbs is overzealous, we do want to point out another issue with CFLs that many people are not aware of. In the United States alone, 49 million people suffer physical effects from energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs.
For individuals suffering from Irlen syndrome, a perceptual processing disorder defined largely by sensitivity to light, fluorescent lights trigger headaches, migraines, stomachaches, fatigue, eyestrain, anxiety, and irritability. Fluorescent lights can also negatively impact the immune system, literally making these individuals sick.
Energy conservation is an important goal we should strive to achieve, but individuals who are sensitive to fluorescent lights need the option of incandescent lightbulbs in their homes and work environments. So we ask that you remain open to incandescent lightbulbs as an alternative for individuals suffering from Irlen syndrome and the physical difficulties triggered by fluorescent lights. --Helen L. Irlen, executive director, Irlen Institute International Headquarters, irlen.com
This is news to me, but a number of readers share your concern. Any proposed legislation mandating more-efficient lightbulbs should take the possible health effects into account. The LED lights mentioned by the EPA's Wendy Reed may provide some relief in the future as well.