“We did some research on this, and found that glow sticks, when used properly, are safe and nontoxic,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “The ingredients glow when the inner glass tube breaks, and it combines hydrogen peroxide, phenyl oxalate and a fluorescent dye.”
While the chemicals inside glow sticks are nontoxic to humans, they can be an irritant, so if one breaks or leaks onto your skin or in your mouth, rinse it off or out right away.
“And there’s a glass tube in there,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. “So if kids are chewing on these – which they do – they [can] get little, tiny pieces of glass [in their mouth or on their body].”
Light Bulb Disposal
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) reduce greenhouse gasses and can lower your energy bill. In fact, the Federal Energy Independence and Security Act’s goal is to switch completely to energy-efficient light bulbs by 2014. But, because most CFLs contain mercury, which is considered toxic, hazardous waste, they cannot be thrown in the garbage like regular incandescent bulbs.
Mercury poisoning has detrimental effects on a child’s development, and is linked to sensory impairment. Be sure to check CFL labels for mercury levels and disposal requirements.
The Doctors demonstrate the proper way to dispose of a CFL bulb, and reveal other light dangers.
Operation Lights Out
If you have trouble sleeping at night, cutting out the light in your room can help. JD, 42, was feeling sleep deprived and took turning off the lights to the extreme with Operation: Lights Out — turning off every light and artificial light source in his home after sunset for 30 days.
“I read an article about how artificial light disrupts melatonin production, which helps you get sleepy,” JD says. “So we decided to turn off all the lights and see what would happen.”
While JD and his family did “cheat” a little by using the computer until about 7:30 p.m. most nights when performing the experiment during the winter months, after that, the only source of light in the house was candlelight. “Sometimes we would read by candlelight,” JD says. “We talked more, which was great. [We’d play] board games. It was kind of like camping, but with no bugs.
“At first, it took a few days to catch up on sleep, but we were going to bed around 9 p.m., and the effects were really profound,” he adds. “The emotional state was totally different. We’re more confident, more optimistic, more energetic, and I was shocked by how different it was to be fully caught up on our sleep all the time.”
While JD and his family no longer go lightless at night, they have continued to turn lights off much earlier than usual, avoid watching TV in bed and installed software called F.lux on their computers, which removes the blue light from the screen to offer a more natural glow.
• Tips for a good night's sleep.
• How to reset your sleep cycle.
Glowing Beauty Tips
Beauty expert Kym Douglas demonstrates homemade remedies for eliminating a shiny nose and brightening your skin.
• Kym shares her natural home remedies to banish blotchiness.
• Kym's budget beauty tips.
• More home beauty remedies.
Eye surgeon Dr. Kerry Assil, from the Assil Eye Institute in Beverly Hills, California, joins The Doctors to answer your sunlight-related questions.
• Stare at the white square in the middle of the box above for 20 seconds, and then look at the white space to the right of it. Notice how you see blue squares. Click here to find out why!