HID lights have caused some controversy since they became standard on most new cars. Many people have complained of having their vision hampered when an oncoming car with improperly installed lights passes them. On the other hand, reviews of HID xenon kits have been overwhelmingly positive, and their ability to increase a driver’s vision cannot be understated.
While there are plenty of articles addressing the visibility issue, and plenty of reviews of HID xenon kits to help you wrap your head around whether or not this is a purchase you will consider, I wanted to take the time to address some issues that rarely come up regarding HID lights and their impact on the environment. One thing I hear about is that they are radioactive, another is that they actually reduce the amount of Co2 a car needs to put in the air per mile. I’m going to address these two topics and get to the truth.
Truth #1 Yes, some HID lights use Radioactive Substances, no they will not harm you.
There are HID lights out there that use radioactive substances like thorium and krypton-85, and although those may sound a bit frightening – they will not be causing any harm or giving you mutant powers (sorry.) The radiation produced by these Isotopes is easily contained inside the light itself and does not pose a risk to those near it. These types of HID lights are not typically used in vehicle headlights anyways.
Truth #2 HID Lights are better for the environment.
Bi-xenon headlights use only about 40% of the energy required to power standard lamps. This reduction in energy consumption means that a HID light can reduce the CO2 emission of your car by up to 2 grams per mile. With 253 million vehicles on the road driving an average of 10,658 miles per year, HID lights have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by almost 12 billion pounds a year with full U.S. implementation. That is actually a significant percentage of CO2 we could be cutting out of our air, by implementing lights that also add to our overall safety.