New CFL Bulbs Harmful to Photographs

With the ever increasing disappearance of the good old tungsten light bulb we are finding that our photographs are becoming more and more susceptible to ultraviolet (UV) light.


Light Fade

UV light is one of the main causes of yellowing and fading in photographs and according to the Northeast Document Conservation Center fluorescent lights give off high amounts of damaging UV light. They are second only to sunlight in the amount off UV rays that are given off.  Quartz lamps and metal halide also give off damaging amounts of UV light but not quite as much as fluorescent light.

With the new Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs becoming so popular more and more of the older framed photographs will begin to show age. Most of the newer photographs are framed with UV coated glass but the older one from our childhoods are not. Since homes mostly had tungsten light bulbs the harmful UV light came from the sun so we just hung our photographs out of direct sun light.  There are several ways to protect older framed photographs. Change out all of the glass to UV coated glass, use a UV spay coating like Krylon UV Resistant Clear Coating Spray or Premier Imaging Products Print Shield or add a plastic shield called Picture Shield in front of the photograph. All of these items can be ordered online or found in hobby and craft stores.

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