Madame Butterfly and the dark side of LED

Dear Editor,

I read with interest the fascinating article by Sue Parker (25/6 p.39) on the history of LED and how it was “discovered by nature”, in the wings of butterflies, long before modern scientists reinvented the idea. The author clearly has an abiding love of all things natural. We know that for Madame Butterfly, however, a love that knows no boundaries goes horribly wrong.

Alas, so it turned out with her article. The last paragraph, unfortunately, spoiled everything. It contains many scientifically incorrect statements and misleading innuendo.

What does “sustainable living” mean, I ask? LED light bulbs are not environmentally friendly, and certainly not sustainable. They are loaded with poisonous carcinogenic chemicals, including mercury and arsenic.

Carbon dioxide, by contrast, referred by ‘Madame Butterfly’ as undesirable in the atmosphere, is actually one of the two gases of life, along with oxygen. There is no reproducible scientific evidence for its involvement with so-called “climate change”. It’s a myth that’s become an industry, rather like a religion.*

Even if the climate is changing, there still is no case for the idiotic ban by EU politicians of the tungsten light bulb. It comprises a tiny amount of inert metal, in a vacuum.

The tungsten resistance basically converts electrical power into heat, so when the filament glows white hot, besides the light, the bulb is a mini-heater. A 100w bulb contributes to the central heating 0.1kw. We get the light for nothing!

All across northern Europe for 90-100% of the time homes are heated by various means. With the abolition of the tungsten lighting, central heating energy consumption goes up to maintain the desired ambient temperature.

To summarise, in winter, besides more light we need the heat; with LED we burn up that much more energy to keep warm.

LED bulbs are more expensive to manufacture and replace; the light quality of LED devices deteriorates with time. We get the toxic chemicals in the environment, which will eventually incur a decommissioning cost.

When LED bulbs break, e.g. after a car collision, we are advised to wear protective clothing and a breathing mask for the clean-up operation.

Les Woodcock
Universidade do Algarve, Faro