Energy-saving bulbs posing health problems, according to Nigerian e-waste expert

Energy-saving bulbs posing health problems, according to Nigerian e-waste expert

September 4, 2019
Marcia González

While acknowledging that the people who invented the CFLs were right in the area of energy conservation, this e-waste expert believes the energy conservation affects human health negatively

An electronic waste expert, Dr Ifeanyi Ochonogor, founder of the Nigeria-based E-Waste Relief Foundation, has cautioned Nigerians on the usage and disposal of energy conserving bulbs, stressing that they contain several carcinogenic chemicals that are hazardous to human health.

Ochonogor informed the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that a lot of scientific studies had been performed on mercury in the Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL), more commonly known as energy-conserving bulbs.

“Mercury from CFLs can cause cancer and various diseases,” Ochonogor said. “When you break CFLs, an explosion of toxic chemicals ensue and mercury is the last thing anybody wants to inhale. CFLs also cause lethargy, headaches and dizziness. We need to be watchful of what we buy, use and consume.”

Ochonogor went on to state that CFLs were widespread on the African continent due to a lack of awareness. Quoting an article in The Daily Mail, he said some German Scientists claimed that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when CFLs were switched on, including phenol, nepthalene, styrene and mercury vapour.

Ochonogor, also the CEO of E-Terra, suggested that improper disposal of CFLs and the possibilities of spreading the mercury and contaminated glass were other major challenges. Broken CFL pieces are usually discarded, hence poisoning the ecosystem. He added that there was a need to proffer possible strategic solutions toward the usage and safe disposal of energy saving lightbulbs due to the mercury in it.

Ochonogor believes manufacturers didn’t allow sufficient time to study the effects of these CFL innovations on consumers before releasing them for use.

E-Waste World Conference & Expo will take place from Thursday 14 November to Friday 15 November at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Germany. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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