United States of America

Saving energy and putting less waste into landfills is a worthwhile and noble goal. However, the decision of the U.S. Congress to mandate phasing out of incandescent light bulbs is of grave concern to citizens whose health is adversely affected by compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

The Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007, which was signed into law in December 2007, mandates phasing out incandescent light bulbs in favor of energy efficient bulbs starting in 2012. While CFL use is not required by this legislation, CFLs will undoubtedly become more common. They are more affordable than other options, such as light emitting diode (LED) lighting. Additionally, many people are simply unaware of the potential harm they hold for people with certain health conditions and do not know to avoid their use.

For some people with migraine disease, CFLs trigger debilitating migraine attacks. Migraines impact more than 32 million Americans and have a devastatingly negative impact on the economy and the lives of those who are plagued by them. According to the Irlen Institute, research at the University of Birmingham in England showed that many migraine sufferers are sensitive to the flickering from fluorescent lighting, TV screens, and computer monitors.

Proponents of switching to CFLs often claim newer CFLs do not have the visible flicker of older CFLs and regular fluorescent light bulbs. However, just because the flicker is imperceptible to the eye does not render it imperceptible to the brain. The brains of migraineurs are extremely sensitive and tend to overreact to stimuli that would not bother the ordinary person. In fact, most migraineurs experience photophobia, extreme sensitivity to light, during an attack.

CFLs are thought to negatively affect some people with other health conditions, too, such as lupus, epilepsy, and autism. People whose health is impacted by CFLs will become increasingly shut out of public life as businesses and institutions switch to CFLs. They will be rendered unable to do even the most basic tasks, such as banking, grocery shopping and other daily errands.

Migraine Disease and CFLs - Myths:

(1) Claim: CFLs cause migraines. FALSE

CFLs do not cause migraines. Rather, CFLs have been identified as a trigger that brings on an attack for some people with the genetic tendency to experience migraines.

(2) Claim: There is no evidence establishing CFLs as a migraine trigger. FALSE

There is anecdotal evidence but currently no scientific evidence supporting the notion that CFLs are a migraine trigger for some people. However, the issue has not been studied. Until the issue is studied scientifically under appropriate conditions and parameters, the reports of some migraineurs that CFLs are a trigger for them is all we have to go on. This does not diminish their experiences. Rather, it reminds us that this is an area in which more research is desperately needed.

(3) Claim: People who claim CFLs are a migraine trigger are secretly hostile to ecologically friendly laws. FALSE

The concern about CFLs triggering migraines is in no way based on a hostility toward protecting the environment. In fact, we acknowledge there are alternatives to CFLs that meet the same ecological objectives without putting the health of millions of citizens at risk, such as LED light sources. Rather, this is a public accommodation issue. Spaces open to the public should be strongly encouraged to use LED lighting so that everyone can safely participate in life outside the confines of their homes.

We ask that you please sign this petition asking Congress to amend this law to meet the same objectives while also encouraging research and development and incentives to find alternatives that protect the health of Americans who will be negatively affected by increased use of CFLs.

GoPetition respects your privacy.

The Protect migraineurs from CFL bulbs petition to Congress was written by Diana Lee and is in the category Government at GoPetition.