We need to remove this access barrier before it gets put up. (Incandescent lighting ban in California.)

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My mother and a friend have both pointed this one out to me:

Light Bulb Moment in California: Should it Ban the Common Bulb?

How many legislators does it take to change a light bulb?

In California, the answer is a majority — plus Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Decrying the inefficiency of the common light bulb, a Democratic Assemblyman from Los Angeles wants California to become the first state to ban it — by 2012.

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine says compact fluorescent light bulbs, which often have a spiral shape and are being promoted by Wal-Mart, are so efficient that consumers should be forced to use them. The compact bulbs use a quarter the energy of a conventional light.

I no longer live in California. But anyone who does, please write your representatives about this. Fluorescent lighting (yeah, even often the new stuff) can result in total shutdown in autistic people, trigger migraines, and all kinds of other nasty things.

I took a sign language class under fluorescent lighting in California. It was a night class. My mother drove a brown minivan at the time. When I came out of the classroom, I was so confused that I tried to open the door of and get into a white station wagon that someone entirely unlike my mother was driving. I in fact tried repeatedly and did not notice until someone pointed out that this was not my mother’s car. Moreover, I could not see the signs people were doing, and I could not coordinate my hands to sign. I got confused, disoriented, and nearly immobile.

These days, if I spend too long under fluorescent lights, as a bonus I also get a really nasty migraine along with plenty of vomiting and such. A friend of mine used to get seizures from them (she was not naturally epileptic but was on a medication that lowered the seizure threshold). (I even have a letter from my doctor insisting on incandescent lighting, on my official documents page.)

LED-based lights, by the way, are energy-efficient and non-fluorescent, but nobody seems to be talking much about those, only about the evil fluorescents.

This is an accessibility issue for many disabled Californians, and needs to be framed as one somehow. I wish I had contacts in the Californian disability community, I wish there was more I could do about this, does anyone know anything in that regard? Are any disabled Californians and their allies organized around this? Because someone needs to be, and I’m too far away to do anything but point it out on a blog on the Internet.

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62 responses »

  1. I’m in California. And I work in a fluorescent-laden building which I am sure contributes to some of my overload issues (now that I think of it, that might be one of the main contributors to these weird headaches I get that go away a few minutes after I leave the building). I agree that this proposal is a seriously misguided one. I don’t have contacts in any California-based disability groups but maybe it’s time I got a few…

  2. I live in California and this is a disaster. I’m OK with fluorescent lights, but most of my friends aren’t. A lot of mentally ill people can’t take them, so it isn’t just people with neurological issues. Don’t get me started on my local disability rights group and their bigotry against people with hidden disabilities. As far as they are concerned, mobility impairment is the only disability that matters.

    Frankly, I’m discouraged about the whole lightbulb thing. Nearly everyone [except the people who get migraine, seizures, or otherwise are harmed by fluorescents] thinks this law is a terrific idea. When I point out the problems, they say that I haven’t tried the new, improved fluorescents. They just refuse to listen. A few libertarians have noticed that California is banning everything that isn’t mandatory.

    Regarding LED lights, they are expensive to install and not readily available. They give my son migraine. He can’t use an LED monitor either. I doubt he is the only person who gets migraine from them.

  3. I am greatly amused at the thought of light bulb smuggling for sale on the black market.

    Shady character: What you need?

    Customer: *whispers* incandescent light bulbs

    Shady character: that’ll be 50 bucks each

    lol

  4. (this my first post here, and I’m trying to include some HTML to format this. I apologize if this breaks.)

    Has any exploration been done to compare the effects of traditional magnetic ballasts and the new energy-efficient solid-state ballasts on people with fluorescent sensitivity?

    - The tradional humming magnetic fluorescent ballast makes the electric arc in the tube turn on and off 120 times a second, so it’s like working under a strobe light, though most people do not notice the pulsating and the pulses seem to all just blur together into a steady brightness.

    - Incandescent lights also pulsate but because the light is emitted from a hot filament, the filament cannot cool quickly betwen the surges of power and the sharp pulses are being smoothed over into a relatively stable brightness level. There is still some pulsing, though it’s more of a gentle wavering in brightness.

    - The new high-efficiency solid-state ballasts run the fluorescent electric arc at a much higher frequency rate so do not hum. Some electronic ballasts can also provide a new PWM feature that allows the lights to be dimmed, which the old magnetic ballasts cannot handle.

    Here’s a quote from a 2004 article in the engineering magazine Machine Design:
    “…solid-state ballasts are more energy efficient than magnetic (transformer-style) ballasts. The primary reason is that magnetic ballasts operate at ac line frequency while solidstate versions work at much higher rates, usually 20 kHz and above to stay out of the audio range. Fluorescent bulbs are most efficient when operating at these higher frequencies. Operation at higher frequencies also lets ballast components be physically smaller and makes for a more compact package.

    After April 1 of [2006], manufacturers are barred from producing ballasts that don’t meet the minimum efficacy ratings put out by the DOE. After next July 1, ballasts not meeting these requirements can only be sold as replacements for existing units. April 1, 2006 is the cutoff date for fixture makers to stop incorporating ballasts into new fixtures that don’t meet the new requirements. And in 2010, ballasts lacking the mandated minimum efficiencies can no longer be sold even as replacements for existing units.

    Manufacturers say they could devise magnetic ballasts to meet the new regs only by incorporating higher-grade laminated steel in the transformer and by making the whole ballast physically bigger. Neither option is economical, they say. But magnetic ballasts will still be found in specialized applications that DOE regs don’t cover..”

    And so, these new energy efficiency standards may indirectly help resolve the problems you’ve been having with fluorescent lighting, and California’s new energy efficieny rules may not be as bad as you think.

    I don’t know PWM dimming will be tolerable, however, since it involves changing the pulse frequency. It’d be nice if someone could test this out. Perhaps some some of these solid state fluorescent ballasts will cause less problems for you than others.

  5. Actually it is the rise in PSAD (permanent supplementary artificial daylighting) the architects technical term for lights on all day that is responsible for a lot of energy wastage. Ironically most of this lighting is flourescent and it is a design factor of buildings that have deep areas without windows.

    Buildings need to be designed for natural light as well as energy efficiency.

  6. Well, a couple of things.

    1. Hopefully there would be exceptions for lightbulbs older than a certain age. There are some lightbulbs which are running for decades and should be preserved as antiques. The oldest continous use lightbulb in the world is in California, and was built by Thomas Edison himself and still works fine.

    http://www.centennialbulb.org/facts.htm

    2. The energy wonderfulness of flourescent bulbs is great, but there are times you really want an old fashioned light bulb. I realize most people in California are warm weather biased and oblivious to all else, but a real light bulb will be sure to work in very cold weather, where the flourescent won’t. For safety, there may be situations that the little extra energy used is worth it.

    You could state the law such that it applied to all indoor lighting, not including important exceptions, like the inside of freezer units that people have to work in.

  7. Yep, I never could stand those flourescents in the house – no matter how much they try to tweak the coatings, they still have a nasty spike in the green part of the spectrum.

    I also have seen the raw mercury vapor emission pattern and it is MASSIVE in the ultraviolet. I suppose they try to filter this out, but sometimes I wonder.

    I haven’t generally had AS much trouble with it in work and shopping settings for whatever reason, but it is an utterly unnatural light (the corona of the sun, candles, and incandescent bulbs are black body sources whereas fluorescents are “quantum” sources).

    So, yes, as per usual, these legislators in California are completely out they minds …

  8. I HATE fluorescent lights. I don’t go into complete overload from them, but the flicker and hum is annoying and really gets to me after a while. Also, there is something about the type of light they give off that I don’t like- it makes a room seem darker and sends my attention span out the window.
    When I am living by myself, I will use nothing but 100-watt, clear glass (i.e. not frosted), INCANDSCENT bulbs.

    If I was in California I’d be opposing the move to ban them. But I’m in Australia.

  9. That was totally something I hadn’t thought about – I’m so used to associating ‘flourescent light = long strip lights’ that I hadn’t thought about the energy efficient bulbs. I can notice the ‘flicker’ with the strip lights that I can’t with the energy efficient ones, but I’m content with other people’s verdict that they’re a problem.

    We put LED ones in some of our lights that wouldn’t fit the standard energy efficient bulbs – we couldn’t find them just as normal bulbs, they were under something weird like ‘mood lighting’.

    I think you can make an environmental case as well as a disability one – like low-cal bisuits, the idea that something is ‘less’ makes people use it more, so people might not be as good with remembering to turn them off.

  10. I think bans in general are stupid. It seems they had a brownout situation not too long ago though. It would be wise for them to charge more for power in upgrading but also to investigate the LED solution/put that out there. They could “regulate” bulbs so that they are cheaper for those who need them due to disabilities but otherwise tax them or allow them to charge more and insist they build better power plants with the proceeds.

  11. Yes, mecury vapor arcs generate huge amounts of ultraviolet radation, which is how this works. The ultraviolet rays hit the phosphor coating on the glass, and that causes the phosphor to glow brightly.

    But none of the ultraviolet can get through the glass bulb. Glass is a complete barrier for ultraviolet radiation.

    LED lights usually work the same way as fluorescent lights with the high-efficiency ballasts. Give a LED a continuous flow of power and it will suck down a lot of energy, so to make it efficient it is usually driven with high frequency pulses. LED lights flash so fast you do not notice the dark gaps, but it is flashing.

  12. Have any studies been done to look at the effects of warm white, cool white, and full spectrum fluorescent lights with incandescent lights? Even if you can get past the flicker problem, the type of light could be another issue.

    Many scientists now realize that we’ve spent thousands of years living under a certain spectrum of colors from the sun, and we’re probably best suited to that spectrum of light. Any light whether incandescent or fluorescent that doesn’t match the sun’s spectrum probably isn’t very healthy.

    - For incandescent lights, the color spectrum is very powerful in the red but not as much in the blue and green like the sun.

    - Full-spectrum incandescents are blue because that acts as a filter to cut down and balance out the red and yellow, but the filtering reduces the light output, makes the bulb run hotter, and decreases energy efficiency.

    For fluorescent lights the type of light can be controlled by the mix of phosphor elements that coat the inside of the tube:

    - Pinkish fluorescents used to exist in the 1970s, but it was found they often make people irritable and uncomfortable so they have been mostly phased out.

    - Cool white fluorescent is the cheapest tube type since it uses a very common phosphor. It is very strong in the blue and yellow spectrum, and makes everything look blue and “cold”.

    - Warm white fluorescent is more the yellow-red spectrum trying to duplicate incandescents, and gives everything a warm reddish color, though it’s still not a very good match to the sun.

    - Full spectrum fluorescent lights usually cost much more than regular cool/warm lights because they have a special phosphor mix that closely matches the colors coming off the sun.

    So the light spectrum could be yet another problem that you may be having with most fluorescents.

    Most people do not like the color sprectrum from cool white tubes, so fluorescent light manufacturers have been forced to move towards warm white for lighting in homes. Full spectrum would be better yet but most people don’t want to pay the higher price.

    Office fluorescent lights are often annoying because all the employer cares about is how cheap he can get those lousy cool white tubes, though companies are now starting to realize the subtle impact the lights have and so more are moving towards full-spectrum just because it makes employees more comfortable and more productive.

    It would be interesting to find out how many government/institutional buildings are still using the cheap bluish cool white tubes. This may be part of the reason why your past experiences with fluorescent lighting have been so bad.

  13. Do city street lights cause any problems for you?

    Most treet lights are known as HID (high-intensity distance) and can be high-pressure sodium, mercury vapor, or metal-halide. All of these use an electric spark, and all must have a ballast to work on line power, and so they can flicker just like fluorescent lights.

    HIDs have normally been used with the magnetic ballasts, but high-frequency solid state ballasts can also work with them.

    The yellowish glare from HID sodium lights is annoying to many people, and the deep blue light from HID mercury vapor lamps doesn’t do a very good job of lighting up the night either.

    Metal-halide HID is a very close match to the sun, and so is far less annoying than the sodium or mercury vapor. This spectrum match also makes colors look vibrant, bright, and clear.

    All outdoor sports stadiums and fields use metal-halide HIDs, as do most gymnasium lights. Many stores use metal-halides to make their products look bright and colorful, and car dealership parking lots often use them to make their car colors stand out at night.

  14. I go back and forth on identifying myself as autistic but certainly I exhibit more than a handful autistic traits, also my cousin is dx’d as an aspie. I know that if I had been born 20 years later than I was – I would probably have the diagnosis as well.

    In any case, this flourescent lighting business is one thing I never thought about – and in retrospect i can’t imagine why – I am VERY sensitive to flourescent light – to the point that I used to have to wear dark glasses when I was a child to avoid going into fugue states. My perception still goes a little wonky and I’m a little out of it after prolonged exposure – but usually I just get headaches.

    In general, I prefer my dark little bat cave to anything else.

  15. Javik,

    I’ve only read your first comment, but I’ll tell you, I have serious problems with the old-fashioned tube fluorescent lighting, and milder (but still extant!) problems with the compact bulbs.

    If I were forced to convert my whole house over to the compact bulbs, it would be unpleasant for me. As it is, I cannot, under any circumstances, stay more than 30 minutes in the room in our house that is using them for lighting, and even 30 minutes is pushing it.

    I’m planning on trying LED lighting, personally, but apparently that solution is not going to work for everyone.

  16. I was informed that since the CFLs don’t have the flicker issues (thousands of flickers per second, versus less than a hundre) that my miagranes must be psychosomatic if I’m getting them around CFLs… *grumble*

  17. Javik -

    City street lights can cause problems for me. I need to analyze which ones are more problematic, because I hadn’t been paying attention to the color characteristics very closely.

    The worst problem I have with lighting as I’m driving, though, are those dang-blasted intense halogen headlight bulbs. Sure, they illuminate what’s in front of you a lot better, increasing safety if you’re the only one on the rural road (and many people are driving with those things in conditions that just don’t warrant it), but how safe is it if it causes enough of a problem to the driver headed toward you, so they have a head-on collision with you? (I’ve noted the best spots for pulling over on the longest stretch of rural road I regularly take at night, and the other rural roads have less traffic on them so it’s not much of an issue on them.) Nothing to do with fluorescents, but like the fluorescents, it falls under “bulbs that annoy me”. :)

  18. (arriving late) If this signals a trend, I suppose I should be grateful I’m visually impaired. I have no trouble with flourescent lighting–so long as it is dim (intense lighting will make me leave rooms). In my previous workplace, one “problem” was that I required less lighting than my co-workers. It was okay to demand more lighting, but wrong (“special treatment” or whatever) to state that you did not need or want more lighting.

  19. You mentioned LED lights. You can’t seem them flicker? LEDs are the only thing I hate more than fluorescent. I can’t see the flicker if I stare directly at the LEDs, but if I try to turn my head, or see them in any part of my vision that isn’t the direct center, it’s like mini strobe-lights.

    I’ve noticed (the hard way) that a lot of car manufacturers are now using LEDs in tail lights. If I’m driving at night, I can see a car with LED tail lights flickering and flashing from very far away. It makes me nauseous and makes it hard for me to drive.

  20. Ironically most of this lighting is flourescent and it is a design factor of buildings that have deep areas without windows.

    Buildings need to be designed for natural light as well as energy efficiency.

    Argh, yes, and natural ventilation too. A ton of the new buildings at our school are… artificially-lit caverns, basically. No natural light, and they’re all pretty much airtight too. Some of them you need keycards just to get into because oh noes, scientific equipment might be stolen, and there are no windows you can open, and then you get lovely plastic/formaldehyde/whatever smells trapped in the building and circulating through the air system constantly, which was actually a bigger problem for us than the lighting. (The lighting does set us off in ways it’s hard to describe, not migraines, but… if you compared our concentration in fluorescent vs. incandescent lighting environments, I’m pretty sure the fl. one would be off.)

    Oh, and in most of the buildings, even the older ones, the hallway fluorescents are on 24/7, even when the building is locked and no one is using it at night.

    And YES to the person who mentioned those stupid car halogen lamps. What are those things? Every time we see them coming or in the rearview mirror or something, we have to look away because if we do catch a glimpse of them we’ll, basically, be temporarily blinded. (They’re on the worst possible part of the light spectrum for us too, apparently– that blue/indigo sort of blend…)

  21. anyone involved in energy healing such as Reiki can tell you how harmful fluorescent bulbs are to the human energy field so who is making an “informed” decision???

  22. My Dad uses LED lights. His co-worker, who seems to think wanting to save energy is stupid, mocked him about it.
    I just posted ( http://abnormaldiversity.blogspot.com/2007/02/psychological-effects-of-being-good.html ) something about a section on the psychology of “good patients” I found in a psychology textbook, and I would really like to know what you think of it. It says some stuff I’ve heard you mention, and I’d like to know how accurately it describes the effect of institutions.

  23. yeah the new halogen ones in cars really bother me when driving at night. I can put my lenses on, but the danger there is of being stopped by the police who might prosecute me for wearing tinted lenses after dark.

  24. Okay, so . . . I’ll write a letter if it means anything, but I live in Illinois. Anybody out there in California planning on contacting legislators?

  25. Thank you for pointing this out – I have for years felt like flourescent lights were making me sick and actually used this as the main reason for skipping classes in highschool. I’ve always been sensitive to them but I didn’t realize that other people had negative reactions to them too. Flourescent lighting is like kryptonite on my brain.

  26. The very bright blue-white car headlights are miniature HID metal-halide lamps, the same as the big ones in gyms and stadiums. The whiter light makes it easier for the driver to see at night.

    All modern headlights and flashlights use halogen lamps. Only very old car headlights are not halogen, and they have a dim yellowish light.

  27. Angel, not every LED light is powered the same way. Some uses pulses to conserve energy, and some do not. Most keychain LED flashlights do not pulse the light. The battery is used up faster but it makes the flashlight simple to build.

    The same annoying flickering happens with big old CRT computer monitors if the refresh rate is set too low. I cannot stand looking at a CRT computer monitor running at 60Hz refresh. After several hours of this I will start to get a headache from the flickering.

    If I look away from the screen the 60Hz flickering becomes very obvious in my peripheral view. If the refresh increases to 85Hz the flickering goes away and the image appears rock steady, but some people need 100Hz refresh or more for the flickering to go away.

    The new thin LCD monitors cannot flicker, and just blur if things move too fast on the screen, so there’s no headache from running them at a slow 60Hz refresh.

  28. The blue automobile lights are xenon lights. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenon

    Halogen headlights have been around for over twenty years. They were the much brighter, white headlights that began appearing on foreign cars in the 1980s.

    My current building uses recessed, mostly indirect, fluorescent lighting. My migraines have decreased since I started working in this building, and this change may have played a major part in it.

  29. i have AS and am bothered by computer monitors at anything less than 70Hz. i am bothered by fluorescents of the old style. The new kind, the compact electronic versions that you can replace incandescent bulbs with, are all throughout my home. They do not have any effect on me because they oscillate at a much higher frequency than the AC 60Hz we are used to hating. They do not bother me at all. Maybe some autistics have a higher brain oscillation frequency than myself, but so far i am totally comfortable with the light these new designs produce. Though, i do wish to add my vote for the LED lights. They are also more energy efficient and do not oscillate in a way that affects me. Though, i believe they are more costly to manufacture as incandescent light bulb replacements and are typically “focused beams” which means you’d have to install them as spotlights and not omni-directional lights. i’ve looked them up, that’s why i know. It’s been a few years, though, so maybe costs have reduced.

    i am in favour of laws being enacted to force the states to use more energy efficient technology. Change comes too slow on its own. This is why certain mandates are good things. Look at the mandates to force diversity in workplaces? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a federal mandate that forces workplaces into not being able to discriminate against autistics? Such a thing might have helped me…

  30. Jace, re a law to prevent work place discrimination against autistics: technically, such a law already exists: the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. At least, I assume that autistics are covered under this law (someone here please correct me if I’m mistaken). But it does have its limitations (for instance, it doesn’t apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees; there is a loophole for employers who can claim “undue” financial burden; it is not as well enforced as it perhaps should be; discrimination can be hard to prove; etc.)

  31. The old-school fluorescents were quite annoying with its low buzzzzzz, but I have no trouble with the spiral versions.

    I do own two LED bulbs that work great with my gooseneck lamps, but they are a poor substitute for general lighting. I’m hoping down the road that LED technology will improve.

  32. This is the topic:

    ===================
    Assemblyman Lloyd Levine says compact fluorescent light bulbs, which often have a spiral shape and are being promoted by Wal-Mart, are so efficient that consumers should be forced to use them. The compact bulbs use a quarter the energy of a conventional light.
    ===================

    I shake my head that my country is coming to this. What California idiot would declare we should be forced to use a specific Wal-Mart product?

    The law should read that incandescent bulbs waste so much energy to heat instead of light, that any incandescent bulb that produces X percentage of heat for Y amount of power required to produce a standand output of light will be taxed to bring the price up to current competative rates of commonly available alternative, such as compact fluorescent average from several major retail outlets.

    This way other technology would have incentive to be produced, such as LED, and if you really neeed incandescent, you have the choice to buy them, it just would be made a foolish choice for most people.

    But who am I to argue with some well conneced politiian who was at some fashion trend party and blurted out “Hey, wouldn’t it be a cool thing if everybody just used this new thing?”

  33. Anna: Thanks. As for studies to cite (and that’s a good idea), I’ll have to do a bit of research. I’m thinking emphasizing reactions to lighting that tend to be considered more dramatic, alarming, dangerous, concrete and “provable” (i.e. seizures) would likely get more results than reactions like migraines (which I get, but I have a very hard time convincing the general public I get ‘em as a result of factors like lighting). Lemme see if I can get hold of something . . .

    Joe: Yeah. Forcing me to even *enter* a Wal-Mart these days might count as a lesser form of torture.

  34. Okay, I finally managed to dig out the contact info for the Chair of the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism. What are they there for if not to study the potential effect on autistic people of a proposed state law?

    Senator Darrell Steinberg
    senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov

    Capitol Office
    Phone: (916) 651-4006
    Fax: (916) 323-2263
    State Capitol, Room 4035
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    District Office
    Phone: (916) 651-1529
    Fax: (916) 327-8754
    1020 N Street, #576
    Sacramento, CA 95814

  35. Do you know of any other sources for information about autistic people and fluorescent lights? could be an article from the news, from a journal,or just a website. Anything that speaks to the experience of multiple people. I work in a school for students with PDD and we have a fair ton of fluorescent lights…we also do a lot of research, and I bet someone would be into the idea of at least trying a different sort of illumination to see if it helps the students concentrate and be more comfortable.

  36. Please, everyone write to California’s legislators since if it happens here, it will happen where you live.

    I’ve been negatively affected by fluorescent lights since the time they upgraded my school to an “efficient pod”. It became much, much worse after I was part of a lighting study to see if they could “increase creativity in hospital workers”. I was one of 3 workers who sat under 2 banks (4 tubes each) of “full spectrum” fluorescent light. Since that time I’ve had major problems with all bright light but especially fluorescent and even the computer. visible light is visible light. I researched the light and found what I feel to be a potential culprit is the visible blue which peaks sharply at 435 nanometers. As a matter of fact, it goes off the chart peak-wise to the tune of 4X the amount in REAL, NATURAL sunlight. Lighting companies will truncate this peak in their charts.

    Visible blue is responsible for exciting retinas, helping some people to see, but I feel that in my case it over-excites them, fatigues the muscles of my eyes which creeps out to the rest of the muscles on my skull and then into my neck.

    Fluorescent may use less energy, but they use more bulbs than what would be required because they offput a sickly light. They used to routinely use 4 tubes per fixture, with each 40-watt fluorscent light emitting the same amount of light as one 150 watt incandescent. I asked an energy consultant at PG&E why in the world do they put the equivalent of 600 watts every few feet overhead? He had no answer. Reducing the light to two tubes creates a grayish light.

    School children have headaches during the schoolyear that disappear during the summer. Powers that be like to think it’s the lack of stress but I think it’s the lack of fluorescent. Also look at the number of headaches in office workers.

    I think more people are sensitive to fluorescent than is realized, and there is a percentage of us who are exquisitely sensitive.

    I say leave the lightbulbs alone, let people choose what they want and educate the public to use LESS bulbs, turn lights off, etc. People I know who use fluorescents use far too many of them as it is and leave them on. Ridiculous.

  37. Keep in mind when dealing with NT’s (neuro typical’s) that they have severly limited sensory inputs.

    No sensitivity to magnetic fields, High voltage, static electricity, Ultra violet, flicker (Below 45Hz normally), personal space, body odor, cologne, perfume.

    They can’t feel magnetic fields at all, High voltage before they are shocked, See Flickering lights or that funny line where blue becomes Ultra violet, Smell anything that isn’t strong enough to choke a blood hound, Taste anything without enough spice to cook the toungue, hear anything below about 200Hz or above 10 to 12 Khz anbd never above 20Khz at all.

    Have pity for they who are nearly blind, nearly deaf, live with a perpetual head cold and can’t feel lightning about to strike.

    Have pity on them and hope for there children that they might be born with senses and not have them tortured away by the deprivations of exposure to fluorescent lights targeted perfumes colognes and other smelly things that leads to head aches bad behaviour and finally drugging into senselessness in order to restore order to the NT’s cookie cutter universe where all outcomes are the same no matter what and personal achievement is punishable by shunning.

    Have pity and maybe a few of them will survive the collapse they are bringing on us all.

  38. I wish I were living in California just to add my voice in opposition this. I’m NT, but fluorescent lighting stresses me out and gives me headaches.

    Of course, by Voyare’s definitions, I’m not NT. I have too much sensitivity to electricity, personal space, body odor, cologne, perfume, and flavors.

  39. Uh, Voyare, I am autistic and have no sensitivity to magnetic fields. I don’t subscribe to any theories of autism that suggest we have special extra senses or are more spiritually sensitive or anything like that. (FWIW, I’ve also met auties who were “undersensitive” in one or more way– i.e. were relatively indifferent to things like cold, heat, certain tastes or textures, etc.)

    By the way, your statement that we need to pity people who are blind, deaf, or have chronic illness (or those who are functionally so in your view, by virtue of not being autistic) makes me wonder how much you actually know about the philosophies of the broader disability rights movement, to which the autistic rights movement is a relatively recent addition. Try reading about it and learning from the ideas of people who helped pave the way for you to fight for your rights as an autistic person. You’re in a position little different from the people you claim we ought to have pity for. Divisionary strategies of redefining one’s own difference as a form of superiority, and then proclaiming pity for a whole bunch of people who are in many ways fighting the exact same fight as you, is basically shooting yourself in the foot.

    And redefining autism as an overall superior way of existence and perception and then extending the exact same condescending, unhelpful pity to everyone who is not autistic that non-disabled people have traditionally extended to disabled people, will not help anyone.

  40. I wish I’d thought to say some of that.

    Especially the stuff about how condescending it is to imply that blindness, deafness, or chronic illness requires pity, rather than basic respect for another human being.

    I’m not trying to pile on – I just really admire Riel’s post.

  41. Sorry if I gave impression of looking down on NT’s
    I neither look down on or up to them.
    Words don’t always say what I want the first time.

    I think anyone can have what would be considered extended senses if they don’t torture it out of themselves or have it done by the place they live or work in while growing up.

    There must be different types of people in order for the world to work. A balance must be kept, that is why I say they should survive. We are not two species, we are one and need all parts of it working together if we are all to survive.

    Without the diversity of view point we would all stagnate and that leads to ending for us all.

    But a solution for non NT’s besides a choice between school for the retarded VS. two dozen in a class room filled with the reek of teen odors lit by flickering fluorescents with not a trace of sunshine being “taught” by the book by a teacher who just doesn’t care about or see individuals must be found.

    I tried to learn in school, nobody could tell me why anything, everybody just said read the book, take the test get the grade nothing else matters.

    My desire to understand how things worked got me in constant trouble a lot because the teachers just didn;t know themselves I think.

    Not bigoted, just wanting to be seen as an individual not treated as a cardboard cutout that boosts average daily attendance.

    NCLB = NCGA (no child left behind means no child gets ahead either)

  42. But a solution for non NT’s besides a choice between school for the retarded VS. two dozen in a class room filled with the reek of teen odors lit by flickering fluorescents with not a trace of sunshine being “taught” by the book by a teacher who just doesn’t care about or see individuals must be found.

    This doesn’t sound like it would be all that beneficial to most NT’s either.

  43. Back in Feb. following the original post I did call some state representatives in California and was told that they had no intention of enforcing mandatory florescent lighting and the proposal at least for this year had been shelved….That does not mean however that it might not be brought up again in another session so if anyone sees it hitting the light of day again please alert the rest of us. Proposals like this may be well-intentioned but are also extremely short-sighted. Not only are many people cognitively sensitive to florescents but many of the rest of us have reasons we need incandescent bulbs…In our rural area we used the heat from an incandescent bulb to keep one area of pipe from freezing during extreme cold so our water pump would still work. I appreciated Voyare’s restating the meaning of his/her first post. I think schools should be completely redesigned…and diversity celebrated and tools to fight bullying put into place and more attention paid to lighting/paint color/noise levels etc. There needs to be more
    working at one’s own pace and students helping students in all subjects…More ways of learning need to be recognized…We all don’t process the same so we need more choices in education…

  44. Recently our local children’s museum, The Discovery Museum in Charlottesville, VA, changed the interactive theme in their back room. This time it is about careers, so the place is set up like a little town with different shops and businesses, such as a doctor’s (complete with flashing red and blue police light and flourescent lights for viewing x-rays), a veterinarian’s with a flickering TV set (with actually a cool program featuring service dogs), and others. The little town has little street lights, which are child-sized so that the actual light is about even with my eyes. All the lights are those compact flourescent ones. My son loved the place and wanted to play there for about an hour, during which time I became unable to physically hold onto our two lightweight jackets and a small shopping bag with handles. When I tried to set the three things down on a chair, I missed the chair and they slid off. I couldn’t play with my son although he kept asking me to, as it seemed that what he said made little sense and that I couldn’t do it anyway. I bumped into a number of things and spent most of my time looking down at the ground in order to avoid the lights. When I left that section and got back to the other part of the museum I was already so sensitive that the regular flourescent lights there made me feel just as woozy. (Those bother me but usually not enough to make me really sick, just slightly sick). I think they change it every few months so I might have three more months of this. Luckily I have found another mom who is willing to watch the children in the back room if I need to leave.

    The organ I play at church has a flourescent light that runs the length of the music rack, and is below the rack so it shines on the keys and the music at the same time. I tried just turning it off but it was too dark. I bought various colors of thin plastic frosted report covers and cut them and taped them to the light above and below and was able to make it so that I did not shut down while practicing. A combination of blue and golden yellowish orange frosted plastic seems to work. I tried about 5 colors in various combinations.

    I have to direct my choir rehearsal under flourescent lights and I know it affects me (both the light and the buzzing), but I can’t tell how much. Perhaps if we ever have rehearsals outdoors or in non-flourescent light I will be able to tell the difference.

    A mandatory flourescent light law would leave me crippled in quite a few situations.

  45. pd: This sounds like just the kind of information that should go into a letter to legislators. It would just be a matter of adding the appropriate introductory paragraph with your demand (If a similar mandatory flourescent light is being actively considered in your locale, this could be something like, “Please vote NO on [insert number of bill here] [insert name of flourescentlighting bill here]; if they haven’t started debating it yet, this could be something like “In some states they have been considering making flourescent lighting mandatory; if this ever comes up for consideration here, please vote NO.”] Then a line saying, For many people with certain lighting sensitivities, flourescent lighting has been verifiably damaging to our health. A mandatory flourescent lighting law would severely hamper our ability to carry out our daily routines and responsibilities” or whatever. Then, basically everything you say here, except maybe condensed a little (because shorter letters tend to carry more impact because they’re more likely to be read).

    I hope you consider it.

  46. I have several physical conditions that get aggravated by flourescent (as well as certain other types) of lighting. My retina detached a few years back, and I have permanent damage to my left eye. F. lighting can cause excessive strain on my eyes, causing pain, headaches, visual problems, and in the long-term, potential vision loss. I also have multiple sclerosis. When I am having a relapse, I get an MS-related eye pain that is markedly worse with F. lighting. My retina specialist is very much against me having it around at all. If it becomes mandatory, I will be sad. Very very sad. And wear sunglasses a lot. And look like a total tool.

  47. You don’t need to be living in California to say something about it — Hillary Clinton just made a campaign promise to phase out incandescents.

    Everyone should write to her people.

  48. Anybody else here have “light-sensitive migraines?” As you all know, I’m not Autistic (at least not so as I’ve been diagnosed, although the way you guys phrase things and evidently view the world makes a hell of a lot of sense fo me, on some level….)

    But anyway, my primary thing is that I’m 20/200 nearsighted. Evidently also have “light-sensitive migraines”, in that certain lighting conditions freak me out physiologically, to where I damn near go blind (my vision basically whites out, except that it’s shot through with colors, and there’s this weird sound in my head that I can’t even describe….) Seems to only happen under very specific conditions: namely, I’m perfectly fine unless flourescent tube-type lights are both failing in a very specific way: they both have to be flickering much more than usual AND the “beat frequency” interval between the pulses has to be fairly specific, but if this happens (not very often, but several times now), I’m pretty much fucked for the rest of the day. I get this weird burning sensation inside of my head, behind my eye sockets…..very nasty.

    I think the best think to do would be for people to go to california and pelt the legislators with light bulbs and rotten fruit. Politics pisses me off, and needs to be destroyed.

  49. I want to go a little off-topic: monitors. What do you folks think about CRT vs. LCD? Which is better for you?

    I’m AS and I’m not sensitive to fluorescent lamps, but I find CRT very disturbing if it goes at 60 Hz (usually due to misconfiguration). 85 Hz and more is OK for me, and 75 is acceptable. Being an IT person and seeing a lot of monitors and people behind them, I always wondered how people can work with a CRT monitor at 60 Hz and sometimes they even don’t notice it. After reading the post, I see this probably is natural for some people to be more sensitive to this, and for others to be less sensitive.

    But I suspect that those who don’t notice, still can grow tired because of using such monitors. So I’m glad LCD’s are gradually replacing CRT, thus eliminating the problem.

    But are there some problems with LCD? This is what I want to ask.

  50. In NJ, two new to the position are hoping to win Congressional seats against the incumbants. The President has no real power in this issue and basically is a scapegoat for whatever happens, good or bad. Both candidates are willing to review whatever documented evidence you might email/fax/mail their staff. One in a former life was a scientist and is impressed by a presentation in accordance with the Scientific Method approach, which should impress the other man, too. This means hypothesis — “CDLs are a poor solution for a segment of the US population, people and lives being sacrificed in the interests of living Green.” data — {list scientific and medical bibliographies that can be checked by their respective staffs and provide a one or two sentence summary on each posting, if possible.}. conclusion — ask the non-incumbent if the price for being Green is too high when weaker segments physically of the population are sacrificed for political expendiency and policy (This is a moral question as to what is best for all US Citizens and real freedoms defined in the US Constitution that define the USA, not a Party question.). The incumbents probably have done nothing on this issue, but Congressional voting records, public record through the Freedom of Information Act, would need to be checked before arriving at such a conclusion.

    People living in other States than NJ should especially contact their non-incumbent Congressional candidates as well as attend public meetings of these candidates scheduled. In NJ the postings tend to be on the County webpages of the respective Parties. Be in attendance and ask the question with others, if possible, asking in a group. Prior to this, send them the data and bring it again, with possibly more additions and/or signed petitions. Maybe the physical damage to the smaller population from the CDLs can be minimized through preventative means. And, if the issue does not specifically target you, it may a loved one now or in the future and possibly substantial mercury, say from vents, and/or high frequency exposure over time can adversely affect you. The scientific and medical journals with the evidence lack the same financing, far less, as the proponents of the Green movement and cannot get the word out. In fact, many people are ignorant of the issue altogether.

  51. I have no problems with fluorescent or LED lights, but I do have photic sneeze reflex. I think it would be less hot and sneeze-inducing in the outer Atlanta suburbs if the developers left more trees around.

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