The Nazis and CFLs: A warning from the Daily Express

Nazis, cancer and the EU: surely the Three Scariest Things Ever to a Daily Express reader. Which is why they all made an appearance in the newspaper’s latest CFL scare story.

The front-page article is a classic of the genre and must be admired for its skillful blend of bad science, cynical scaremongering and deft parade of bogeymen. ‘Scientists warn that prolonged contact with the European Union-imposed bulbs could put people at risk after discovering that they ‘pulse out’ poisonous materials when switched on,’ it warned.

‘These include phenol – a poison used by the Nazis to kill concentration camp victims – and the toxins naphthalene and styrene, which are released as a form of steam when the bulb is switched on.’

It quotes ‘researcher’ Peter Braun of the Berlin Alab Laboratory, as saying: ‘For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.’ Andreas Kirchner of the Federation of German Engineers, also told the Express: ‘Electrical smog develops around these lamps. I, therefore, use them only very economically. They should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head.’

The Express says the study ‘reopens the row over Brussels’ decision to impose [CFLs]’. ‘The existence of phenol in the bulbs is particularly alarming. The same substance was used by the Nazis as a means of killing thousands during the Second World War.

‘Some councils in Britain have already refused to pick up the new bulbs because of the risk from mercury.’

How long before LED lamps catch the eye of the tabloids? Arsenic, anyone?
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Shock jock vs ‘socialist’ lamp

This bat is willing to take on most challenges, but selling CFLs in the US could be a risk too far. While restrictions on the sale of incandescents in the UK brought grumbles from the usual sources complaining that fluorescents were the lighting equivalent of straight bananas, across the pond the move has drawn the unnerving attention of the shouty conservative right wing.

How to make austerity lab equipment


To Fagerhult’s excellent Light studio in southwark, where Batwing is regaled with tales of future light sources by Dr Janos Veres, the chief technology officer of Polyphotonix.