Cyalume’s FAQ (frequently asked questions)

If you want to find out more about our products, our FAQ will help answer your questions! Refer to the following sections.

If you cannot find an answer to your questions please get in touch with us.!

What advantages do chemiluminescent products, in other words Cyalume lightsticks, offer with respect to other sources of light?

Cyalume lightsticks produce 360° illumination and lighting that is stronger than the beam of a flashlight.

The lightsticks are waterproof and can be used underwater or in the rain. They are also buoyant.

Once they have been activated, lightsticks will not extinguish nor can they be extinguished.

Cyalume lightsticks are environmentally safe and do not generate hazardous waste.

Cyalume lightsticks are non-toxic, non-flammable and generate neither heat, flames nor sparks.

The light sticks are maintenance free. They do not require a battery and are totally autonomous.

How do you activate Cyalume products?

Cyalume products, whether they are sold as a stick or a patch / marker, contain two chemical solutions kept apart inside the container.

One of them is stored in a fine glass phial or ampoule. Simply twist the tube or the circular patch (LightShape) to break this interior recipient. Then, shake it immediately so that the two solutions activate, generating light.

The VisiPad rectangular marker does not contain a glass ampoule but two pouches. Folding the patch in two bursts one of the patches so that the two chemical solutions are mixed together. This activates the marker.

Which lightstick colors produce the strongest light intensity?

The brightness and the intensity of the light vary according to the color. The variation depends on the efficiency of the conversion of chemical energy into light.

ORANGE colorant is the most efficient in converting chemical energy into light.

GREEN and YELLOW colorants are the next in terms of the level of intensities.

By means of different formulations, Cyalume Technologies controls the duration of the glow and the intensity of a product. Ask for advice regarding the various colors and the glow times. We will propose solutions tailored to meet your needs.

Exactly what makes up a Cyalume lightstick? How does a lightstick work?

Lightsticks, sometimes wrongly referred to as fluorescent sticks, consist of a plastic tube containing an activator, closed tightly at either end. Inside the plastic tube there is a glass ampoule containing oxalate and a colored fluorescent solution. When the lightstick is twisted, the glass ampoule breaks and the two chemical components mix together: this generates light known as cold or chemiluminescent or chemical light. The two mixed liquids generate light by a chemical reaction without any need for an external energy input. The process is also called, chemiluminescence, producing light by fluorescence.

The Cyalume lightstick, sometimes erroneously referred to as a phosphorescent stick, does not contain any phosphor.

Once the lightstick has been activated, the two mixed chemical solutions produce low intensity light. This light cannot be extinguished easily until all the reagents have been used up. However, low temperatures will considerably slow down the intensity of the light, and, conversely, strong heat will accelerate the reaction.

The glow time varies depending on the lightstick model (from 5 minutes to 24 hours at ambient temperature). The glow time of a lightstick is inversely proportional to the intensity of the light it produces: the shorter the glow time (for instance 5 minutes), the higher the intensity and brightness of the lightstick will be.

It is worth noting that lightsticks having a 12-hour glow time produce light comparable to that produced by a candle flame.

How long can they be stored? What is the shelf life of a Cyalume product?

The shelf life varies according to the type of product (between 2 and 5 years depending on the references).

Counting from the date of manufacture indicated on the package, the products have a shelf life of:


15cm lightsticks:

  • 4 years for the ChemLight 15 cm lightsticks (military range)
  • 5 years for the SnapLight 15 cm light sticks (safety range)


Other stick/patch sizes:

  • 2 years for the 3.75 cm, 5 cm and 7.5 cm MINI ChemLight sticks
  • 4 years for the 10cm, 25cm and 40cm ChemLight sticks
  • 2 years for the 25 cm Flare Alternative light sticks (safety range)
  • 5 years for the 30 cm green SnapLight sticks (safety range)
  • 4 years for the 25 cm SnapLight sticks, LightStation Refills (safety range)
  • 4 years for the LightShape circular adhesive patches
  • 4 years for the PML and SOS products
  • 2 years for the visible and infrared versions of the rectangular VisiPad adhesive patches.
  • 4 years for the Flexband products.


Ultra high Intensity Orange and Infrared Specific products:

  • 2 years for the Ultrahigh Intensity Orange lightsticks whatever the size
  • 3 years for all the ChemLight infrared lightsticks (military range), and LightShape infrared circular patches

How long before use can the wrapper be removed?

Because of their light sensitivity, keep Cyalume products in their original packing for as long as possible. The products are highly sensitive to UV and without the packaging, the product shelf life is measured in days and not in years.

Can a lightstick be put out?

All the products are single-purpose. Once they are activated, their light intensity decreases with time.

Does the ambient temperature have an effect on the performance of lightsticks?

Cyalume products glow less intensely but for a longer time when it is cold. Similarly, they glow more intensely but for a shorter time when they are used at high temperatures.

Are Cyalume lightsticks dangerous in any way?

The lightsticks are neither dangerous nor flammable; they do not generate sparks or heat when they are activated.

They can be stored in an industrial environment near gas or liquid combustible sources because our lightsticks are ATEX (confined space) certified. This means that there is no risk if they are used in explosive confined spaces.

Thanks to its environmentally respectful products which are totally phthalate-free, Cyalume complies stringently to a sustainable development approach. In line with the REACH legislation, it supplies safety data sheets to its customers on request.

What can I do if I break a Cyalume lightstick or if it begins to leak?

Under normal conditions of use, they should not be affected but it can occur if you bend the plastic envelope too much after activation.

Cyalume products are not a health hazard.

In the event of contact with the chemical substance, simply rinse in abundant running water. No other special care is needed. Remember that the liquid stains textiles permanently.

How do I dispose of a spent light stick, or any other product in the Cyalume range?

Cyalume chemiluminescent products can be disposed of with domestic refuse in an ordinary trashcan.

Only products classified as dangerous come under restrictions concerning dangerous waste. But whether they are activated or not, the Cyalume Technologies products can be disposed of without any fear for the environment, unless there are specific instructions applying to a protected site.

What is the difference between a Cyalume lightstick and the other lightsticks available in the market, especially for festive events?

Not all the products are the same, and even less so the formulations used.

Cyalume invests into R&D to develop the safest and most efficient products. Many manufacturers illegally use our trademarks and copy our patented formulas. Our company defends its trademarks and its rights concerning patent laws. We take legal action against any entity failing to comply with these rights. Please check that the products that you distribute, sell or use do not infringe any of our registered patents and trademarks.

Am I allowed to distribute any kind of chemiluminescent product on the European market?

In the European Union, every distributor is responsible for ensuring that the products they put on the market conform to European standards. Note that products from Asia may contain dibutylphthalate (DBP), a chemical that is prohibited in Europe. These products cannot be sold legally in Europe.

Cyalume confirms that none of the products it manufactures contains DBP and also that it has developed a phthalate-free formula. All the substances contained in our products, requiring pre-registration according to the REACH regulation, have been declared in the allotted times. As retailer, you are responsible for ensuring that your suppliers operate according to REACH requirements.

What is the REACH regulation?

The European REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) is a European regulation concerning chemical products and controlling the risks involved in their use.

The main purpose of REACH is the sustainable protection of the health of the people and the environment, by requiring the identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. To comply with these requirements, professionals must declare and register with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) any substance produced or imported in a quantity of more than one ton per annum.


The substances concerned

REACH covers the inspection of manufacturing, import, putting on the market and use of chemicals. REACH has no direct bearing on the preparations or articles produced. It aims at the substances as such, as presented in the preparations, and the items are registered.



REACH includes a specific system of authorization designed to ensure that every time an extremely concerning substance is used, it is strictly controlled. To obtain an authorization like this, a company must prove that the socio-economic benefits exceed the risks. This authorization requirement for the more concerning substances will encourage their substitution by safer chemical or technological products.

DBP, dibutylphthalate, a product contained in most of the lightsticks produced in Asia, has already been listed as an extremely concerning substance and accordingly prohibited in Europe.


The line of supply brought under pressure

Three out of ten companies concerned by REACH considerations believe that the costs related to the evaluation of the properties of the chemical substances will result in some products disappearing. One company out of ten intends to eliminate these products from its production line.

This means that every company must analyze the way the REACH regulation influences its own product range – but also its main suppliers who may also decide to withdraw certain products from their lines of supply.


Your responsibility as lightstick retailer.

For an importer, compliance with REACH is a key to success. Importers invest time and money into commercial and marketing operations. But how can they be sure that the producers have made every effort to comply with European laws and directives? And how can they be sure that the products will still be on the market in the years to come?

You sell products containing chemicals like lightsticks? Then REACH concerns you! Here are the main situations you must be able to manage:

  • Analyze your obligations as importer and distributor and your procurement strategies
  • Communicate with your suppliers and retailers about REACH
  • Answer the questions of the authorities regarding the availability of your documents (REACH, SDS)
  • React to user queries concerning REACH


The Cyalume Technologies warranty

All the substances contained in our items, requiring pre-registration according to the aforementioned regulations, have been declared in the permitted times.

As producer of these items, the items that we supply do not contain any highly concerning substance (e.g.: carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic for the environment), as identified on the list of candidate substances for authorization.

Always check the origin, the lifespan and the elimination details, as well as the intrinsic properties of the products you distribute!