Philips Lighting (London)

Light bulbs are filled during manufacture with a mixture of gasses (at a pressure below atmospheric) designed to enhance the life of the filament. Occasionally, air enters a bulb when a leak develops after the bulb has left the production line. As a result the bulb burns out within seconds of being energized. When even one such flawed bulb is detected by quality control procedures, many more are withdrawn (a whole day's production from the line involved) for testing to ensure that high levels of reliability are maintained.

Gas mixtures emit a characteristic glow when stimulated with a high voltage. Properly done, such a test does not unduly stress or damage an otherwise sound bulb while easily detecting one that has a leak. The test sets have been designed to accomplish such tests quickly and reliably. However, such electrical/electronic equipment invariably has associated with it electric and magnetic or electromagnetic fields often loosely also characterized as radiation.

Since "radiation" is usually associated with rather severe adverse effects, most notably cancers and birth defects, workers may be anxious about working with such equipment. In the absence of specific information addressing the equipment in question, it can come to be viewed with suspicion, apprehension and concern, particularly when a worker has heightened awareness or anxiety due to becoming pregnant or being diagnosed as having a specific medical condition.

RHSC carried out measurements to establish whether or not electromagnetic emissions from the test equipment might be sufficient to result in worker exposures in excess of recommended limits. RHSC reported on the measurement results discussing the significance of the observed levels comparing them to levels in other occupational, commercial and residential environments.

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