Zesa claims that it wants to distribute six million bulbs in the next three months, but studies have revealed that the bulbs contain mercury, which could cause breast cancer and migraine headaches among a number of ills.
A study carried out in Germany warns that the energy saving bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.
“For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment,” Peter Braun, who carried out the tests revealed to The Telegraph.
The bulbs reportedly emit a number of carbolic acids, which the researcher claims could directly lead to cancer.
Another researcher claims that electric smog develops around the bulbs and this could be detrimental to health and the environment in the long run.
The researcher said she only used the bulbs economically, saying she always left her windows open when the energy saving bulbs were on.
The latest report follows claims by Abraham Haim, a professor of biology at Haifa University in Israel, that the bulbs could result in higher breast cancer rates if used late at night.
He said that the bluer light that bulbs emitted closely mimicked daylight, disrupting the body’s production of the hormone melatonin more than older-style filament bulbs, which cast a yellower light.
The Migraine Action Association has warned that they could trigger migraines and skin care specialists have claimed that their intense light could exacerbate a range of existing skin problems, The Telegraph said.
Zimbabwe faces biting power shortages and Zesa claims it will be able to save power by introducing these energy savers.
Zesa spokesman, Fullard Gwasira conceded that the bulbs carry mercury, which is detrimental to health, but said the contents were too small to cause a health scare.
“For there to be a health problem you need at least 50 bulbs and they are only a problem when they are broken,” he said.
Gwasira said the power utility will engage local authorities on disposal of the bulbs, so they would not cause environmental harm when disposed off.
He accepted international research into the issue, but said Zesa had also done its own research and were following in the footsteps of Namibia, Angola and Europe in rolling out the energy savers.