Do you ever consider how court room lighting may affect you and your clients?
The British Government and European Commission are aware that at least one in thirty people suffer illnesses in court rooms fitted with fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) (1). This raises three issues. First, is it possible for someone to receive a fair trial under lighting that makes them ill? Second, is the legislation banning incandescent lighting and mandating the use of fluorescent and LED even lighting legal? Third, why has the truth about the negative health impacts of CFL/LED and fluorescent lighting been hidden from the public?
Illnesses caused by fluorescent tube, CFL and LED lighting
According to the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy lighting fact sheet ‘Flicker’ (2) fluorescent and LED lighting types are a concern because of the way they impact on humans from ‘distraction or mild annoyance to neurological problems’. The effects of LED and fluorescent lighting depend on the light source and the ‘sensitivity of individuals’. LED and fluorescent lighting can induce ‘seizures, headaches, fatigue blurred vision, eyestrain, and reduced visual task performance for certain populations.’ Other effects include, loss of concentration, stress, exhaustion, mood swings and other mental problems, and even cancer.
Why fluorescent tubes CFLs and LEDs make people ill
Illness from fluorescent and LED lighting is due to the number of different characteristics they possess when compared with healthy traditional incandescent lighting. Traditional incandescent bulbs are natural fire light, provide a full smooth healthy light spectrum kinked towards the red end of the light spectrum, do not emit harmful radiation, are toxin free, contain no electronics and don’t flicker like fluorescent and LED lighting. Incandescent lightbulbs are so safe that they are still used in light bulb eating competitions.
In contrast, fluorescent and LED lighting combine to produce light that flickers, has a spiky light spectrum kinked towards the blue end of the spectrum, emits radiation, produces a harsher light, contains over 30 electronic components, rare earth metals, mercury and other cancer causing toxins that can leak, and are classified as hazardous waste. Should a fluorescent tube or CFL break there are strict clean up instructions including: turning off all air conditioners, opening all windows (tough if you are in a court room with sealed windows), evacuating the court room immediately, and throwing away any clothing that has been in contact with the broken tube (3) (4). These exclusions are there for a reason – this mercury based lighting causes real harm to humans. Should you not follow these instructions to the letter chances of making a successful injury claim will be zero. Cancer caused by exposure to mercury is not immediate, it can take years to develop making it difficult to prove causation. LED lighting has the problem of producing an intense focused directional light with a laser-like centre that can damage the eye (5).
The Novak Djokovic effect – everyone has their room 101
Novak Djokovic, current tennis number one, in his book ‘Serve to Win’ (6) explains how gluten, touted as healthy whole grains, triggered in him behavioural outbursts and exhaustion. Once Djokovic removed gluten from his diet he rocketed to number one in the tennis rankings where he remains with a comfortable lead over his rivals.
Just as Djokovic for many years did not realize that he was gluten intolerant, it is likely that many lawyers and their clients do not realise that they are fluorescent tube, CFL and LED intolerant.
However, where Djokovic discovered through free choice what made him ill (even though it did not make others ill), the installation of fluorescent, CFL and LED lighting in court rooms is based on hiding the truth and using spin to create the impression that all light is the same but some lighting types ‘save energy’.
In banning the incandescent bulb, government are breaking new ground; for the first time actually banning a safe product and mandated people to use lighting loaded with rare earth metals and toxins that would cause a number of people to be ill. The reason why courts are mandated to use CFL/LED/ florescent tube lighting is because only one aspect of lighting was revealed to the public (energy) and all other dimensions were deliberately obscured from the public – differences in type of light, toxins, rare earth metals, radiation, and crucially the harmful effects CFL LED and tube lighting have on humans.
Why the ban on incandescent lighting and the mandating of LED and fluorescent lighting is illegal
The legislation behind the ban on incandescent lighting and the mandating of CFL, LED and fluorescent tubes derives from Commission Regulation (EU) No 1194/2012 of 12 December 2012 implementing Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to ecodesign requirements for directional lamps, light emitting diode lamps and related equipment.
However, Section 15 of this Directive states that ‘The ecodesign requirements should not affect functionality from the user’s perspective and should not negatively affect health, safety or the environment. And ‘Product information requirements should allow consumers to make informed choices.’
These words make it clear that the mandated CFL and LEDs should not negatively affect (a) health (b) safety (c ) the environment. Yet the reality is that they do negatively affect all three. And the British Government and EU Know it.
European Commissioner Oettinger, the ‘political monster’ behind the ban on healthy incandescent lighting and mandating the use of toxic unhealthy fluorescent and LED lighting, confirmed to then Scottish MEP Stuan Stevenson as late as 2013 that the EU knew that people were suffering. Yet Oettinger would not even consider lifting the ban on incandescent lighting and dictated that the ‘way forward was to explore new technologies that could provide us with new light bulbs that will not cause these adverse health impacts.’ (7) Oettinger knows the EU ban is causing real harm to many people yet he and his European bureaucrats continue to behave like Tiananmen Square captains ordering tanks to crush anything in the way of their harmful communist directive.
On the issues of both health and safety, I wrote to then British Energy Minister, Dan Norris, regarding the inevitable exposure workers will have to face in the production of the EU mandated harmful lighting. Norris’s reply, littered with ‘hopes’ and ‘shoulds’, made it clear that he was aware that workers were being poisoned in China from lightbulbs used in British court rooms. Yet despite this awareness, the British government continues to promote these bulbs and in the next breath criticizes China’s human rights record. The following is an extract from what the Sunday Times had to say:
‘In China, however, a heavy environmental price is being paid for the production of ‘green’ lightbulbs. Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs – a surge in foreign demand, set off by a European Union directive making these bulbs compulsory. Doctors, regulators, lawyers are increasingly alert to the potential impacts on public health of an industry that promotes itself as a friend of the earth but depends on highly toxic mercury. Mercury is recognised as a health hazard by authorities world wide because its accumulation in the body can damage the nervous system, lungs and kidneys, posing a particular threat to babies in the womb and young children.’ (8)
I also raised these concerns with Conservative MP Philip Davies in December 2011. Davies passed my concerns to Lord Taylor, who at the time was responsible for enforcing the EU ban across the UK. Lord Taylor manipulated the English language into making this knowingly harmful ban appear to be helping people! Lord Taylor replied, ‘The British Government is working with patient groups, clinicians and the lighting industry to keep the health issues under review’.
Thank you Lord Taylor — but it is the EU ban that you are enforcing that is creating sick people – many of whom don’t even know the cause of their sickness is due to LED and CFL lighting because you, your EU cronies, and the British Government have deliberately not disclosed the negative health effects of these bulbs. Many people have been prescribed pills and potions when all they needed to do was to go back to toxin free, radiation free, full spectrum incandescent lighting. LED and CFL lighting are the asbestos of today. Evidence on the negative effects of these lights is being covered up just like evidence of the ‘Guilford Four ‘ who, as a result of government evidence deliberately hidden from the jury, ended up being wrongly convicted of the Guilford pub bombing (9). The court oath to ‘tell the whole truth’ is a joke when taken in modern court rooms illuminated by lighting mandated out of suppressed evidence and untruths.
The way forward
EU mandated fluorescent and LED lighting should be removed from the court rooms because with it it is not possible for at least one in thirty people to receive a fair trial under conditions known to make them ill. Participants in the court process who suffer under this lighting may not even be aware that it is the lighting that is causing them to lack concentration, not behave rationally, prevent them from remembering clearly, making them tired and confused and to appear contradictory, shifty or aggressive – all of which have a real bearing on the outcome of a trial.
Forcing people to take part in the legal process under lighting known to make them ill is akin to force feeding Djokovic gluten or sneaking pea nuts into his food before he enters court. Just because the Judge or counsel in the case do not suffer under this type of lighting, this is no excuse to assume everyone is fine and dandy – that is ignorance and selfishness and a failure on the legal process. It is known in the medical profession and accepted by governments that some people cannot perform under this light – these people cannot receive a fair trial in these conditions.
Much has been made of the ‘energy saving’ argument. Yet many modern so called ‘energy saving’ court rooms have sealed frosted windows necessitating lights and air conditioners to run all day.
However most trials take place in daylight hours. A well designed court room would allow natural light and have windows that opened, and use healthy full spectrum non-toxic incandescent lighting should it become dark.
As Novak Djokovic identifies, ‘Growing up under communism, you are not taught to be open minded. And there’s a reason for this: If you are not open minded, then you can easily be manipulated. People at the very top are very invested in making sure we not question what we are told to believe. It is happening in every country of the world.’
If there are any lawyers out there who would like to mount a challenge against the legality of the ban on incandescent lighting and the mandating of toxic LED and CFL lighting please contact me at the e-mail address below.
Dr Robert Hanson, Barrister (not practising), Founder and Director, Silk Road Chambers Limited. firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Flicker, Solid-State Lighting Technology Fact Sheet, U.S. Department of Energy, March 2013
5. ANSES, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (2010)
6. Djokovic, N ‘Serve to Win’, Corgi Books, 2013. ISBN 9780552170536
7. ‘Scots MEP calls for EU ban on incandescent light bulbs to be urgently reconsidered’,
8. Sheridan, M. (2009) ‘Green’ lightbulbs poison workers. The Sunday Times.
- McKee G, Franey R, Time Bomb, 1988, pp. 426-36, Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN 0-7475-0099-1
Author, Dr Robert Hanson, Barrister (not practising), Founder and Director, Silk Road Chambers Limited. email@example.com