All types of lighting, including fluorescent tube, incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent bulbs, emit a very small amount of ultraviolet (UV) light. In some cases, regular incandescent bulbs can emit more UV than compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL).

If you have a medical condition that makes you sensitive to UV light, or if you sit closer than 30 cm for more than 1 hour a day, choose a CFL with a plastic cover over the spiral. The plastic cover will filter out this small amount of UV light. Your lampshade or the cover on your light fixture will also help to block UV light.


Any product that is plugged into an electrical outlet is surrounded by EMFs, even if they are not turned on. Health Canada does not consider EMFs from CFLs to be a health risk.

Is the mercury in CFLs hazardous?

CFLs do contain small amounts of mercury – typically 3 to 5 milligrams per lamp. This is about 5 times less than the amount in commonly used 8 foot fluorescent tubes and about 100 times less than in old glass mercury thermometers. According to Health Canada, there is no risk to your health when the lamps are intact.

Mercury is a toxic substance that also occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It can be harmful to your heath in sufficient dosages. You can reduce exposure to mercury from a broken CFL by following safe disposal guidelines.

Safe disposal

Just like paint, batteries, thermostats, and other household items, CFLs should be disposed of safely. The best way to dispose of used CFL bulbs:

Information on the depot locations and hours of operation is also available by calling the City of Winnipeg recycling and garbage information line at 204-986-8888, Code 9811 or contacting 311.

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