Scots MEP calls for EU ban on incandescent light bulbs to be urgently reconsidered

A Euro MP has asked the European Commission to think again about their ban on incandescent light-bulbs. Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson issued the call after holding high-level talks in Strasbourg with Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger to highlight health problems associated with the widespread introduction of low-energy light bulbs.

Following many complaints from constituents in Scotland and across the UK, Mr Stevenson invited two experts to Strasbourg to raise the matter with the energy commissioner. Joanna Hamilton-Colclough, Director of the charity Migraine Action, the national advisory and support charity for people affected by migraine and Dr Andy Dowson of Edinburgh University and Director of Headache Services at King's College Hospital, London, accompanied the Euro MP to the meeting with Commissioner Oettinger.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Stevenson said:

“I told the Energy Commissioner that the decision to ban all incandescent light bulbs in Europe by 2016 had been taken without a full review of health issues being carried out. Low-energy light-bulbs may be 80% more energy efficient, but a sizable minority of people throughout the EU are now suffering ill health, including headaches, migraine, nausea and diseases like lupus, psoriasis, photoallergic eczema and photosensitive epilepsy, due to exposure to these new, low-energy light-bulbs, which emit a different spectrum of light including high levels of blue light and a high- frequency flicker effect.

“I suggested that the Commission should provide a derogation enabling incandescent bulbs to remain available for those who could not use low-energy bulbs without suffering adverse health impacts. Dr Dowson and Joanna Hamilton-Colclough provided the Commissioner with a report detailing the health impacts that I had outlined.”

Stevenson continued:

“Commissioner Oettinger came up with a very interesting proposal. He said that looking backwards was not realistic and suggested instead that we should look forward to exploring new technologies that could provide us with new light bulbs that will not cause these adverse health impacts. To accomplish this, he said that he would marshall the resources of the Scientific Committee on New and Emerging Health Risks and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. He will ask the two organisations to conduct their own research and come up with possible solutions by way of new technologies. He said that he would then ask us to return to Strasbourg to meet with both organisations and with him and his Cabinet to discuss their findings and map out possible ways forward.

“This is certainly exciting news for the many thousands of people who have suffered from exposure to low-energy light-bulbs.”