Could “Dirty Electricity” Be Affecting Your Health?

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How many women does it take to change a light bulb? One—if that woman is Sophia Ruan Gushée. After learning about electro-pollution and its effects on human health, this nontoxic living expert and member of the Well+Good Council vowed to change her high-tech bulbs to alternatives that serve up just as much light (without the potential risk). Here's why you may want to consider doing the same.

Do the light bulbs you choose affect how healthy your home is? According to people who research dirty electricity, the answer is yes. Certain light bulbs and dimmer switches can contribute to electro-pollution, or potentially toxic electrical frequencies. These frequencies are generated by man-made technologies, meaning that light bulbs may potentially emit "dirty electricity."

Here's what that means. “Clean” energy is provided at an electrical current of 60 Hz (59Hz in Europe). "Dirty" electricity refers to other frequencies. They may be generated from the electrical power lines, wiring within your home, and the things you plug into electrical and lighting sockets. The dirty electricity then radiates into your home environment, potentially contributing to physical symptoms ranging from headaches to heart arrhythmia to an increased risk of chronic illnesses.

learn about dirty electricity and lightbulbs
Photo: Stocksy/Duet Postscriptum

While many people may not be sensitive to electro-pollution, a small demographic is (there isn’t great data on this, but estimates range from 3 to 9 percent of people). Others may be impacted, but do not associate their symptoms to electro-pollution. So what can you do if you suspect you may be experiencing electro-pollution?

One easy way to reduce electro-pollution is choosing healthier light bulbs.

One easy way to reduce electro-pollution is choosing healthier light bulbs. I avoid curly compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs. CFLs produce dirty electricity because they operate at high frequencies (typically between 10kHz to 40kHz), and electronics are used to control the voltages and frequencies to make them operate. While LEDs are often thought to produce less dirty electricity, this is not always true. And a note to home-improvement types: If you’re thinking about using dimmer switches in a renovation, consider that they are one of the worst creators of dirty electricity.

I recommend using incandescent lights, preferably full-spectrum. They are often the healthiest light bulbs to use when trying to minimize electro-pollution. Try switching them out and seeing how you feel over time—it may be just the thing to help your home feel like a healthier, happier place.

Sophia Gushee is a sought-after toxic exposures expert, author of A to Z of D-Toxing, and founder of Practical Nontoxic Living, a multimedia company that produces podcasts and is incubating the D-Tox Academy, an online portal to make practical nontoxic living simple and accessible.

What should Sophia write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to

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