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Homemade UVB Lamp Misrepresented
from John P.

Background from Archives:  Homemade UVB

I am looking for a source to buy a UVB lamp myself, because my doctors will not prescribe a home unit for liability reasons. I checked the specs on the F20T12/350BL bulb [mentioned in "Homemade UVB" in the FlakeHQ Archives], and found that it is UVA! (350 refers to the wavelength in the UVA region) and it has no power in the UVB region 290-320nm. People who do things without fully understanding what they are doing cause products to become regulated, adding cost and limiting my choices. -John P.

*****

Ed’s Response:  Thanks for pointing out our error.  I’m including a note in the background email (“Homemade UVB”) to read this exchange, too.  That way, anyone in the future who goes to “Homemade UVB” will be nudged to read this as well.

In light of your discovery, using the term “UVB” was inappropriate.  That Robert’s lamp emits light at a higher frequency (by 30 nanometers) places it outside that portion of the spectrum arbitrarily named “UVB.”  Granted, we need to know this for truth in advertising.  However, does this compromise Robert’s results with his lamp?  Perhaps not.

We must remember that with radiation we are dealing with a spectrum.  Characteristic effects of particular wavelengths pay no heed to our taxonomy.  The difference between UVB and UVA — especially at the 30 nm margin — is, well, marginal.  In other words, though Robert didn’t really find a non-prescription UVB lamp to use in his homemade light-therapy device, he evidently found a lamp emitting light radiation at a wavelength close enough to UVB to help. 

Not only would this explain why Robert was able to buy the lamp without a prescription, it might point to an economical compromise worth trying before you pay greater amounts to get a prescription for and then buy 30 more nanometers of emission.  I’m not recommending it ... just making a point.  -Ed

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