Healthy CFL Negative Ion Light Bulb

Re: Healthy CFL Negative Ion Light Bulb

A Reader writes:

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the site.

It is great to see someone with a passion for bringing information and knowledge to a market where marketing folks are commonly stretching the truth a bit.

I have learned alot - and have also recommended your site to others in the market.

Unfortunately, this is going to be one of those "obscure purifier" emails...

I saw reference of this company [] as a sponsor at a recent sporting event (apparently they are based in the community in which I live) - and went to look at their website.

Amongst other items, they have two compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs that have built in negative ionizers - one of which they have their version of the typical video that shows smoke being cleared from a plastic box.

If nothing else, this sounded like something you may have predicted...

Just curious if you have an opinion about these one way or the other... (Heck - for $20 - I don't mind being a guinea pig... ...for even if it is a gimmick - I still need a light bulb..)

A Reader.

Ed's Reply

Hey Reader;

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) light bulbs are a politicized and controversial topic.

Our not-so-friendly Federal Government has mandated the phase-out of the incandescent bulb to "save energy."

I feel so safe knowing Big Brother is watching out for my health and safety. And I have new respect for the government's ability to create a marketing frenzy. Some real cash is flowing here, and I think some of it is going to Washington.

Like the UV lamps used in some air purifiers, these are Mercury-vapor lamps. Each contains approximately 3 to 5 milligrams of intensely unhealthy Mercury.

While in-home breakage is rare, it is a real hazard. Users who break any fluorescent bulb should NOT use the vacuum cleaner on the mess.

The same government which is forcing us to buy these bulbs has explicit instructions on what to do if we break one;

EPA broken CFL bulb cleanup instructions.

The bulb itself carries a warning to the effect of "Dispose of properly according to Federal regulations."

(Translation - "do not put this in the trash.")

Six states make it illegal to drop CFLs in a landfill.

Uh-huh, 90 percent of these are going straight to the dumpster.

No Mercury is released until the Purely Products CFL's glass is broken, which is usually when the garbage truck lifts the full dumpster up in the air and drops it about 15 feet. (Very Loud Crash in background).

I happen to know exactly when that is, at least at my Houston apartment complex, 3:45 AM Monday and Thursday.

Purely products has a trade-in program to encourage buyers to purchase another bulb. They offer free shipping in exchange for the old bulb.

CFLs can be recycled at retailers including;

Ace Hardware
Aubuchon Hardware
Bartell Drugs
Home Depot
IKEA stores
Orchard Supply

The Healthy CFL light bulb claims to employ a "built-in" ionizer.

The Purely Products page says the Healthy CFL "generates 1 million negative ions." (They mean per cubic centimeter per second).

That sounds impressive, but really strong ion generators, like the Wein VI-2500, make 450 trillion ions/sec/cm cubed. The Wein ionizer is so strong it generates lots of ozone. Users notice good action on odors - negative ions do not affect odors.

Now I am a big fan of the government-banned effects of negative ions as a health measure, but the air cleaning effects are exaggerated in Purely Product's marketing.

Purely Products ads also allude to health benefits of negative ions. Big Brother (FDA) can't be too happy about that.

Remember that neg ions do not remove pollutants from the air permanently, they flocculate them into groups too large to float on the air.

These clumps sink to the floor to be stirred up again later.

Also the claims of removing mold spores, pet dander, and cigarette smoke are general and unquantified.

I expect the air cleaning effects of the Healthy CFL to be pretty trivial. But if 30 of these Healthy CFL gismos were installed throughout your house, you could be the "guinea pig" in a larger experiment.

Urban areas have almost no health-critical negative ions.

I have used stand alone negative ion generators for over 40 years.

The Comtech Research model IG-133A ozone-free negative ionizer on my desk needs to be wiped clean of dust which has accumulated on it's dust plate right now. It runs adjacent to my laser particle counter, which shows negligible change in .5 micron particle density with the ionizer on.

purely products healthy cfl bulb

On my left I also have the small plug-in Purely Products Ionic Lifestyle Negative Ion Generator, claimed to produce 2,000,000 negative ions/sec/cm cubed. Using the ion detector wand supplied with the Comtech Ion generators, I see it is about 1/3 as powerful as the IG-133A.

Again, I do not use these ionizers for their particle removal effectiveness.

The little plug-in ionizer is enjoying fad status right now, with Chinese builders unable to keep up with demand. Purely Products appears to be a very effective marketer, but expect delays if your order the plug-in ionizer.

I prefer full spectrum daylight-simulating lamps, and would buy ionizers without the bulb.

But it doesn't appear that adding the "healthy" ionizer increases the risks of the CFL technology.

Since we will all be using the Compact Fluorescent technology soon, the Healthy CFL-bulb-as-ionizer looks just OK to me.

Best wishes,


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Healthy CFL Negative Ion Light Bulb