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Migraine fears over light bulb changes

The Migraine Action Association (MAA) has called on the government to provide an array of specialist light bulbs that people can buy after retailers voluntarily stopped stocking 100-watt bulbs.

The group said people who suffer from migraines could have attacks set off by a "flicker" in the energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, which is not visible to others.

Some retailers have stopped restocking traditional 100-watt bulbs as part of a government-backed drive to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by about five million tonnes a year.

But the MAA has recommended that migraine sufferers should stockpile old-style bulbs while they are still available.

Campaigners claim the energy efficiently bulbs, which are a version of the fluorescent strip lights found in many offices, can have a harmful effect on migraine sufferers.

Lee Tomkins, director of the Migraine Action Association, said: "All we are asking is that migraineurs are given a choice. They are very sensitive to light, and believe that attacks can be triggered by a flicker that is imperceptible to other people.

"We are saying the new bulbs should not be used in reading lights, or where people eat. They can be used in areas of low traffic, such as hallways, and people must be given a choice over which type of bulbs to buy."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

The Migraine Action Association

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I think migraine sufferers like myself should have the right to choose which bulbs to use. It is very worrying that people will feel forced to use something that could possibly damage their health." - Dawn S, Bedford

"YES, I have had several migraines triggered by energy saver bulbs, the most recent yesterday, in of all places, a hospital waiting room with no windows. It was a viscious attack and lasted over 12 hours. We have removed ALL these nasty energy saver bulbs from our home now." - Jonathan Lyddon, North Yorkshire

"I agree with Linni.  Also - what about the extra costs of sick absence resulting from an increase in migraines caused by these lamps? We go to great lengths to avoid migraine triggers and it is dreadful that this one is being forced on us." - Lynda, Leicester

"Migraine and epilepsy sufferers should definitely be allowed to use traditional incandescent bubs. As a migraineur I can confirm they cause attacks. They also cause eye strain, and damage eyesight. How many "office sicknesses" and workplace accidents are caused by poor lighting? Migraine prescriptions are not cheap - so neither are fluorescent bulbs "cost saving" for migraine sufferers. That's roughly one in ten people in the UK - if six million people are not enough to listen to, what does it take? And what's worse - carbon dioxide or mercuty vapour?" - Linni, Manchester