MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Most of us have them in our homes and use them every day, but researchers at a New York University found out that in the long run, compact fluorescent bulbs could do more harm than good.
Researchers at Stony Brook University conducted a study on those spiral-shaped, CFL bulbs, and what they found was alarming.
In every bulb that was tested, the protective outer coating had a microscopic crack, which allowed harmful ultraviolet rays to escape, similar to the exposure you get when you walk out into the sun without protection.
"It worries me a little bit now that I know that," says Walter Foley of Macon. "But I do know that by switching my entire house out with them, I did save a lot of money on my electric bill."
The U.S. government is phasing out those traditional bulbs in favor of these new energy savers, which use a quarter of the energy as the old bulbs and last four times longer.
Now, some say that's not such a good idea.
"I think if it is harmful, they need to change it and make it to where it's not harmful," says Parker Jones of Macon.
Sharvis Canty, assistant manager at ACE Hardware on Riverside Drive, says most of his customers haven't made the switch yet, mostly because of the cost.
"You can buy one pack of regular incandescent bulbs and get four for maybe $1.79, compared to that one fluorescent bulb, which is probably $5.00 for one bulb."
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association admits on its website CFL bulbs do emit UV rays, but they say they're not harmful.
"Increasing distance between a person and the CFL will reduce the already low levels of UV radiation since light intensity declines rapidly with distance," the NEMA wrote. "Unless an individual is medically diagnosed to be particularly sensitive to UV radiation or visible light or has a particular medical condition such as a form of lupus, one should be able to use CFLs at the same distance as traditional incandescent light bulbs."
Stony Brook researchers suggest customers exercise caution and stay at least two feet away from CFLs at all times while they're in use.
The 100-watt traditional bulb was phased out last year, the 75-watt will be phased out this year and the 60 and 40 watts will no longer be made next year.
Retailers can still sell the products as long as they have them, but they can no longer be manufactured.