Abraham Haim, a professor of Biology at Israel’s Haifa University has claimed that the energy saving light bulbs such as the CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) may accentuate the rate of breast cancer in women, making them more prone to breast cancer.
These energy-saving light bulbs emit bluer light and closely mimic daylight that disrupts the body’s production of the melatonin hormone. The older-style bulbs, in contrast, emit a yellowish light which allows the body to produce the said hormone (melatonin) which has long been associated with protection from breast and prostate cancers.
For over a decade, a link between night time light exposure and breast cancer has been drawn since studies suggested that female shift workers had a greater likelihood of developing breast cancer.
Prof. Haim and his team have discovered that there may be a strong connection between night time bedroom light levels and breast cancer. The study has been published in ‘Chronobiology International’ and it suggests that women who slept with the light on had a 22% greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who slept in complete darkness.
The researchers opine that this may be owing to the fact that modern society uses bluer light waves of shorter wavelength that may suppress melatonin production much more than the yellower old-age light.
Prof. Haim has remarked that he has removed the eco-friendly light bulbs from his house since he feels they cause light pollution. However, he emphasizes that this study doesn’t substantially prove that these cheaper, eco-friendly light bulbs heighten breast cancer cases. Dr. Sarah Rawlings, head of policy at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, also states that this link is purely speculative and more research needs to be done in this area.