Patients' anger over eco-bulbs

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The Government is putting its green credentials ahead of the health of Britons as old-fashioned and 100W lightbulbs are phased out under EU rules which come into force this week, campaigners have said.

Energy-saving lightbulbs which will replace the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs can trigger migraines, exacerbate skin conditions and lead to other serious health problems, they warned.

But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was working closely with organisations representing the 36,000 people in the UK who have a "special health interest" and only "a small percentage" of these would need specialist bulbs.

David Price, of Spectrum, an alliance of charities working with people with light-sensitive health conditions, said the Government was "disregarding" public concerns as it took the lead in European efforts to cut down on energy-inefficient products.

"Health is important and it should come over anything else, but they're not looking after ours," he said. "They're not listening to the public and aren't talking to the actual sufferers." Countries across the European Union start the mandatory phase-out of 100W and frosted incandescent lightbulbs in favour of energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) tomorrow following a voluntary phase which started in 2007.

The new bulbs use up to 80 per cent less electricity than standard bulbs, could cut a home's annual energy bill by up to £37 and save 135kg of CO2 each year, the Energy Saving Trust said.

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