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Halogen Lamps & Skin Cancer

Updated April 17, 2017

Halogen lamps emit more ultraviolet (UV) radiation than other types of light fixtures. Because exposure to UV radiation is a major cause of skin cancer, halogen lamps do pose a health risk.

Halogen Lamps

Halogen lamps have a smaller filament than incandescent bulbs; as a result, they must concentrate more energy in a smaller area. Because of this focusing, they release energy that is more intense than that released by other light bulbs, including a small amount of UV radiation.

UV Radiation and Skin Cancer

The Cancer Council of Australia warns that exposure to UV radiation plays a major role in causing skin cancer, particularly if a sunburn results from the exposure.

UV Filters

Most halogen lamps come equipped with UV filters. For example, some GE Lighting lamps are made from special quartz that filters out most UV light.

Safety

It is best to avoid prolonged direct exposure to halogen lamps to avoid exposure to UV radiation. It is also better if the light is reflected off the wall or ceiling rather than directed straight at you.

Conclusion

Although UV radiation from halogen lamps does pose a risk for cancer, because of the small amount of radiation released and the fact that most lamps have protective filters, most halogen lamps are safe. If you suffer sunburns from using a halogen lamp, however, stop using it immediately.

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About the Author

Abe Robinson has been a freelance writer since he graduated from college in spring 2009. He has written for a variety of websites and has provided content for the University of Chicago's "Ceremonial Words – Ritual Acts." He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from that university, receiving honors for his B.A. Thesis "Anglo-American Perceptions of Japanese Imperialism in Taiwan."