His advice: "Everyone should be wearing sunscreen every single day no matter what, because even a short commute from home to work can lead to sun damage over time. And if everyone adheres to that there's no reason to be concerned about this issue."
Another expert agreed.
"Recommending that people apply sunscreen every day is always good advice," said Dr. Darrell Rigel, a clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "That said, I'm not sure what the risk is here. Is it a risk of some kind? Yes. It is a big risk? Probably not. And I would not alarm people that they're going to get skin cancer because they're exposed to a compact fluorescent [bulb]."
"For example," Rigel said, "most people work in offices within five to six feet of the long, standard fluorescent light bulbs that everyone is familiar with. And over the course of a typical work year of 2,000 hours you'd get the equivalent of about 20 minutes of street sun exposure in NYC in September. In other words, not a lot. So while more research is needed, at this point I wouldn't have people panicking about this."
The American Lighting Association, an industry group representing light bulb manufacturers, did not respond to HealthDay requests for comment.
Find out more about compact fluorescent bulbs at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
SOURCES: Miriam Rafailovich, Ph.D., professor, materials science and engineering, and director, Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, N.Y.; Darrell. S. Rigel, M.D., clinical professor, dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; William Ting, M.D., private practice
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