America’s schools spend more than $8 billion each year on energy – more than is spent on textbooks and computers combined. Approximately 30 percent of electricity consumed by a typical school is for lighting alone. Often, even more is spent to compensate for the heat generated by outdated fluorescent lighting fixtures. Accordingly, the cost of needless electricity and maintenance expenditures can now be redirected to ensuring the general good condition, health, safety, and educational adequacy of school buildings, particularly for those in greatest disrepair. If an educational institution hasn’t updated its lighting in the past five years, a LED lighting retrofit presents an extreme opportunity to reduce the amount of energy used for general illumination by 50 - 65% percent, for cooling by 10 - 15%, and reduce the risk of exposure to harmful contaminants, such as the mercury found in all fluorescent lighting systems and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and other carcinogens that can lead to a variety of adverse health effects on the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems.
Many children have been mislabeled with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, reading problems and dyslexia all because of students having to work under fluorescent lights. With cool-white fluorescent lighting, some students demonstrated hyperactivity, fatigue, irritability, and attention deficits.
Other under reported facts concerning traditional fluorescent light bulbs concern the emission of ultraviolet (UV) light. Studies indicate that UV exposure from sitting under fluorescent lights for eight hours is equivalent to one minute of sun exposure. Fluorescent lamps tend to leak more short-wave ultraviolet light at the ends of the lamps where the phosphor coating is frequently thinner and there is more high-energy activity due of the presence of the cathodes inside each end of the lamp. No matter how well-crafted some short-wave ultraviolet light escapes from every fluorescent lamp made.
Short-wave ultraviolet light can directly damage organic tissue and trigger cancers. Short-wave ultraviolet light can also age or damage paper, fabrics and other materials. Unlike incandescent bulbs, fluorescents require mercury vapor to produce light. A broken fluorescent may leak up to 100 times the federal limit for chronic exposure. This can result in costly decontamination and cleanup to avoid mercury poisoning. The phosphor powder found inside the bulb also absorbs the mercury making this powder toxic.
Last, but not least, fluorescent lamps flicker at a normally unnoticeable frequency, however, this flickering can cause problems for individuals with light sensitivity, and are listed as problematic for individuals with learning disabilities, autism, epilepsy, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and vertigo.