The Orange County Register
April 17, 2011
The LED bulbs sold as safe and eco-friendly can contain high levels of lead, arsenic and other hazardous substances, a new UC Irvine study shows — the same bulbs widely used in headlights, traffic lights, even holiday lights.
The toxic material could increase the risk of cancer, kidney disease and other illnesses, although the risks are more long-term than immediate; a single exposure to a broken bulb is unlikely to cause illness.
“I wouldn’t worry about an immediate release of vapor,” said UC Irvine public health and social ecology professor Oladele Ogunseitan, principal investigator and an author of the study. “But still, when these residues hang around the house, if not cleaned up properly they could constitute an eventual danger.”
The lights should be treated as hazardous materials, and should not be disposed of in regular landfill trash, he said, because of the risk of leaching into soil and groundwater.
High intensity, red bulbs contained the most arsenic, while low-intensity red lights harbored as much as eight times the amount of lead permitted by state law, the study showed.
This article was posted: Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 6:35 am