When most of us think about EMF radiation and the various negative effects it could have on the human body, we primarily think of things like cell phones and microwaves. But what about light bulbs? Light bulbs can emit high levels of EMF(Electric and Magnetic Fields) radiation, and prolonged exposure could prove to be a source of many kinds of health risks and irritation. Different types of electric light bulbs can generate magnetic fields and produce dirty electricity. One of those is the halogen bulb, an enhanced version of the more-widely used incandescent light bulbs. So, are halogen bulbs safe?
When you switch on a light, electrical current flows from a socket and makes contact with the filament, heating it up to incandescence. With halogen lamps, the filament is enclosed in a capsule filled with halogen gas, made up of iodine and bromine.
We’ll be discussing the safety and impact these lights could have on the human body, depending on how they interact with technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, as well as the gas leaking if the lamp breaks.
Halogen Bulbs Explained
Halogen bulbs make use of the same technology as incandescent bulbs to produce artificial light. This makes them a subcategory of the incandescent lights family.
The flow of electric current begins a so-called halogen cycle, where particles that are burning off the tungsten filament are then rotated back to the filament by the halogen gas inside the capsule, allowing for the reuse of these particles.
This allows halogen bulbs to have bigger lifespans than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Because they operate at more significant temperatures, you can often see small halogen light bulbs within the range of 250-300W rating. Halogen bulbs are known to produce EMF radiation and dirty electricity as the result of incompatible conversion.
The quartz capsule
The quartz capsule is made using pure, high-quality glass that does not contain any diluting materials. Quartz is pure and can resist much higher temperatures. You can damage the quartz capsule when you touch it because of the natural oils on your fingers, thus lowering the bulb’s life.
Halogen bulbs pros:
Incandescent lights are the standard for quality, halogens being no different.
The small size makes them convenient for decorating, and they could have unique applications.
If you’re looking to dim your lights, halogens are a great option.
Having long life spans, halogens are the most cost-efficient light bulbs.
Halogen bulbs cons:
Halogens are pretty inefficient when it comes to energy consumption, and they don’t have the greatest lumen per watt ratio.
Halogen bulbs create magnetic fields that radiate electromagnetic waves that can harm your body and cause irritation and migraines.
Halogen bulbs emit excessive amounts of UV (Ultra Violet) radiation, potentially hurting your eyes.
Because the quartz in halogens is sensitive to the oils in your skin, you can reduce the product’s life.
The Dangers and Adverse Effects of Halogen Bulbs
You can recognize a halogen lamp by its bulb within a bulb design. Halogen bulbs are slowly going out of use because of more efficient lighting options like LED. LED lights are way more energy-efficient and thus better for the environment, and halogen bulbs reach much higher temperatures. Both types of lighting create EMF, especially the smart lighting LEDs connected via Bluetooth or wireless internet.
Next up, we’ll be discussing the possible dangers of halogen bulbs and answering the question. Are halogen bulbs safe?
Halogen Bulbs create EMF radiation
As with all electrical appliances and technology, light bulbs do emit electromagnetic radiation. There are three types of dangerous EMF radiations, namely electric, magnetic, and radiofrequency.
Studies show that halogen light bulbs emit only electric field radiation. Studies also show that radiation from light bulbs significantly decreases with distance. The further away you are from the radiation source (light bulb), the bigger the protection from the exposure.
So, as long as there is some distance between you and the lighting, radiation coming from ceiling lights shouldn’t be a problem. With that being said, halogen lamps close to your bed and under-cabinet lights in the kitchen could prove to be a problem to your health.
EMF Radiation from Smart Bulbs
Halogen Bulbs are a form of incandescent lights, which are typically considered safe. With LED lights becoming more affordable and wireless technology more accessible, smart bulbs are more and more prevalent.
Home lighting that is connected and controlled through Wi-Fi will expose you to more EMF radiation. These smart lights are usually controlled using your smartphone or an assistant like Amazon’s Alexa. Because they are connected to your Wi-Fi, they increase the radio-frequency radiation throughout your house.
There are also Bluetooth-connected smart bulbs that also emit fair amounts of RF radiation in your home. These are considered safer than the Wi-Fi ones, but, to protect yourself, you should avoid smart bulbs altogether.
Halogen bulbs are a source of UV radiation
Many types of light bulbs emit tiny amounts of ultraviolet radiation that could potentially be harmful to your skin and eyes, but it’s almost always within the safety limits.
CFL lights, along with halogen bulbs, are the worst choice when it comes to protecting yourself from UV radiation. UV rays can cause severe negative health effects to your body like skin cancer, damage to your eyes, and faster aging. Are halogen bulbs safe for your eyes and skin?
Many studies have shown that halogen bulbs are the worst emitter of harmful UV radiation. Halogen lamps emit big levels of UV waves and should be covered with glass or plastic before using them. Still, similarly to the EMF radiation, lights on the ceiling won’t produce enough UV radiation to become a big concern.
Halogen Bulbs generate dirty electricity
Dirty electricity is created when the flow of alternating electric current is disrupted, causing electrical surges and excess electricity to be trapped in the electrical wires. These electrical spikes and surges are known as electrical noise.
Electrical systems are usually 60 Hz of AC, and different electronics require different adjustable amounts of electricity. Lights are no exception to this, with CFL bulbs being the biggest contributors to dirty electricity. Because of the way halogen bulbs and dimmer switches manipulate incoming electricity, they can cause dirty electricity in your wiring system. When dirty electricity reaches higher frequencies, it has a bigger reach and becomes a danger to your health. Dirty electricity from your wires emits EMF radiation that could be harmful to your body, causing leukemia and other types of cancer.
Halogen Lights are a fire hazard
Are halogen bulbs safe to have around the house? Definitely not. Since halogen bulbs have a quartz enclosure filled up with gas, they create much more heat and operate at higher temperatures.
An overheated halogen lamp on your bedside could fall and potentially create a fire, making them an unsafe option for your nightstand. Halogen lights might cause a fire if a heated lamp comes in contact with combustible materials. Moreover, touching a heated halogen lamp can burn your hand and cause scarring.
Parents are encouraged not to buy halogen lamps for their children’s bedrooms, and Child Safety Europe recommends placing the lamps at a safe distance from covers and pillows.
Halogen gas concerns
Because halogen lights contain gasses like bromine and iodine, there is a common misconception about them being dangerous. For example, having small amounts of bromine inside your body will cause problems for your thyroid gland because it competes for the same iodine receptors. Bromine can substitute iodine in the body and cause many health problems.
But even if you break a halogen bulb, the traces of bromine are minimal, and you will not be affected in any harmful way. Halogen Bulbs do not contain considerable amounts of toxic materials, and you can throw them out along with your regular garbage.
Halogen bulbs are banned in the European Union
As of September 2018, halogen bulbs were banned from sale across the EU countries. The ban occurred not because of the health concerns we addressed but based on environmental grounds, as halogen bulbs are regarded as inefficient use of energy.
The EU countries are pushing LED lighting as a more efficient alternative to halogen bulbs, but they disregard the dangers such as EMF radiation that LED lights can produce, especially if they are so-called “smart bulbs.”
How to Minimize the Risks of Halogen Bulbs
The answer to “Are halogen bulbs safe?” seems to be a “Probably Not.” But, if you’re still using halogen bulbs, there are a couple of safety precautions you can take to avoid the dangers.
Get an EMF meter
Investing in an EMF meter can help you measure the type and amount of EMF radiation around your house. An EMF meter will give you an idea of how much electric radiation your halogen lights give off, and it can prove to be helpful in measuring other home appliances like routers, smartphones, microwaves, etc. Moreover, using an EMF meter that also supports reading dirty electricity can help you find out if there is any dirty electricity in your wires.
Buy a dirty electricity filter
Once you find the sources and confirm that there is electrical noise in your house, a simple solution to getting rid of the dirty electricity is buying a filter. There are two types of filtration systems that can transform dirty electricity back into 60 Hz AC. These are the Greenwave and Stetzerizer systems. Both systems work fine, and we won’t get into the details of how they make that happen.
Cover the light bulbs with glass or plastic
Having some sort of glass cover for your halogen light bulbs can help you protect against UV radiation and avoid potential damage to your eyes and skin. This is especially important if you have halogen bulbs in the form of bedroom lamps or kitchen lighting.
Avoid halogen bulb lamps
Having halogen bulbs on your ceiling lighting is fine, but lamps that can be heated and knocked over are a fire concern. This is very true in the case of halogen lamps in kids’ bedrooms where they can be easily knocked down or where children can burn their hands by touching the bulb.
Avoid smart bulbs
We’ve already talked about this, but you should definitely avoid smart bulbs. They make use of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies which are known as EMF polluters. Wireless technologies emit radiofrequency waves to transmit data and are known to cause adverse health effects when exposed for too long.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the safest type of light bulb?
The safest and the light bulbs that have the least EMF radiation are ordinary incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are designed to be compatible with 60 Hz electrical lines, meaning they will not produce dirty electricity. They are not smart bulbs, which means they won’t connect to Wi-Fi and will not cause additional presence of RF radiation in your home. Also, when you compare them to fluorescent or LED lights, they produce significantly less electric field radiation.
Even though incandescent lights have worse energy efficiency and shorter life spans compared to other options, they are the safest when it comes to radiation.
Why are halogen bulbs banned in the UK and EU?
The reason halogen bulbs are banned for sale in many European countries is to cut down on C02 emissions and combat climate change. It has nothing to do with the dangers, as many countries do not acknowledge studies done on the potential risks of EMF radiation.
Should I buy an EMF meter?
Yes, we highly recommend getting a tool like the EMF meter. The meter will not only help you determine radiation coming from light sources but it can be used on every single appliance and gadget that utilizes electricity. EMF meters can be eye-opening to the dangers of radiation, showing you just how much EMF is present in your home.
Final Thoughts: Are Halogen Bulbs Safe?
Light Bulbs do not emit nearly as much EMF radiation as other devices like computers, routers, and fridges. With that being said, EMF is cumulative, and minimizing radiation from any source is a good thing.
Before you start replacing halogen light bulbs, consider getting an EMF meter, identifying the sources of EMF, and reducing it as much as possible.