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Discussion Starter #1
I am trying to light an entire room, about 21' x 21' by 9' tall. I am making a large "dot room" for a party. Initially, I planned on putting up four 40W 4' bulbs in two shop lights hanging from the ceiling, two 13W compact fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling and a smaller 18" fluorescent over a specific prop, but then I started reading about all these warnings to not allow guests to look directly at bulbs or have too much exposure.

Other sites say that the UV (UVA) released by blacklights isn't going to cause any harm during limited exposure (unlike UVB or UVC). Any thoughts here?

The reason I was going to hang them from the ceiling was to light both the floor as well as the walls. Should I be safe leaving them there or will it be a better move to angle them up towards the ceiling to avoid any direct light? Guests could be in this room for a while, up to 6 or 7 hours.

Thanks for any help.
 

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I've not had any issues with it. Been hanging a shop light with 2 of the 4' bulbs in it for 3 or 4 years. I have it hanging in the hallway
 

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I don't know what the heck to do...all these stories of retinal burning and cancer are scaring me! I mean, I guess it's easy enough to tell people not to look directly at the light. I could also try to angle them up and see if it takes too much of the effect away.

I'm also wondering if the 4 bulbs will be enough to light the whole room or if I'll need some dim "regular" lighting to allow visibility.
 

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Going bump in the night..
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Will you have any other areas with more traditional lighting - like another room (or two or three) that your guests will be able to go to?

Reason I ask: UV damage aside (and from what I've read, the typical "black light" fixture doesn't put off high enough energy UV to be a danger...without prolonged, repeated exposure...like hours a day for a week), I've noticed that the strain on the eyes of having to re-focus so much due to the extremes of bright and dark in a black-light environment can give people headaches after a while.

If you haven't planned one out already, it may be a good idea to give your guests a place to escape from that environment for at least short periods of time.
 

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As I understand it the UV thrown by black lights isn't the problem. The problem is that the eyes don't read black light like they read other colors so the pupils remain dilated when the light is viewed directly. This causes a sort of 'night blindness' when returning the other colored lights--like driving toward someone with their bright headlights on. It shouldn't be a problem if the lights are above eye level. I'd suggest having a dim light transition to the next room to make it easier on the eyes. If you're really worried, Google the effects of black light on vision. find a webpage written by an optometrist and see what they say about it.
 

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You should be fine for just a couple of hours. If these were not safe they would not sell them. Black lights are used everywhere all the time.

One thing you could do that if you are really worried is have one 4' fixture for each wall. Then hang them about 2-3' from each wall and angle it at the wall from the ceiling. This way it is washing the wall and is not giving direct impact on guests. You will still get the same effect you are looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yea, I thought about putting one on each wall, but I want to make sure the middle of the room gets the effect too. The other thing is I only wanted to buy 4 bulbs and 2 shop lights, so that limits my setup options.

I guess what I'll do is plan the next room over to be lit by some candles or flickering lights so that it does provide a transition - if for nothing else but to try and avoid giving people headaches. I'll let people know to avoid staring at the blacklights as well, but I guess that may be common sense. The lights will be about 2' - 3' above everyone, so that should also help.
 

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First, I don't think the typical 48" blacklight bulb is all that harmful in terms of UV. Or perhaps it is and that may explain my personal "issues" after using them for about 15 years now.

But seriously, I agree with what has been said above. The UV exposure itself is not going to give someone skin cancer for a few hours exposure. I also agree that it will 'mess' with your pupils and cause people to be very light senstive over time.

However, you say 6-7 hours for a party. I would then think about some other lighting...it may not cause any real harm, but it would be a sickening feeling after such a long time. The above option I like best is to hang the two shop lights as high at you can, then attach a wire or hook so they point at the walls at a 45 degree angle.

I would not use any additional fixtures, esp the little 'bulbs. Four 48" tubes is plenty of glow.


I am not a doctor and don't even play one on the internet. Use restraint and common sense for your guests safety.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Maybe I'll just get some colored bulbs for the two lights sockets in the ceiling to add a little more light to the room.
 
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