Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the subject of many myths and much controversy. Many say they’re unsafe due to containing hazardous amounts of mercury. Others purport they cannot be dimmed and are difficult to dispose of. Today, results from a recent series of CFL studies conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) demonstrates that the lights are safer than most would perceive.
An independent product safety certification organization, UL’s tests debunked several untruths about CFLs. According to a company-issued press release, “UL’s CFL Safety Study found no fire or shock hazards in CFLs when used in light fixtures, lighting controllers, and switches traditionally used with incandescent light bulbs.” Providing a further breakdown of their findings, UL stated that CFLs perform well in a variety of lighting applications; that the temperatures of CFLs are typically lower than incandescents; that lifespans may be reduced when CFLs are installed in fixtures where light switches are repeatedly turned on and off, but do not pose any safety hazard despite such use; and that CFL technology advancements have improved performance and eliminated safety concerns such as a popping and smoke that occur when a CFL has reached the end of its life.
John Drengenberg, UL’s director of Consumer Safety, noted that the company began its research and testing when public concerns over CFL usage increased. Drengenberg hopes that the company’s research will provide a repository of CFL education for the public, much of which can be found on the company’s CFL Frequently Asked Questions page.
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