How Everything Works
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Question 586

Do regular fluorescent lights emit ultraviolet light? If so, how does the ultraviolet level compare to what we would receive if we were outside? — GF, Barstow, CA
While the electric discharge in the tube's mercury vapor emits large amounts of short wavelength ultraviolet light, virtually all of this ultraviolet light is absorbed by the tube's internal phosphor coating and glass envelope. As a result, a fluorescent lamp emits relatively little ultraviolet light. I think that the ultraviolet light level under fluorescent lighting is far less than that of outdoor sunlight.

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