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updated 8/4/2005 10:31:51 AM ET 2005-08-04T14:31:51

As incongruous as it may sound, a Colorado company has developed glow-in-the-dark lamps. The "Glow-lux" fluorescent tubes from American Environmental Products shine normally when plugged in. When they are turned off or the power goes out, they glow with a dim, eery blue-green light.

For an hour, that glow is strong enough to be useful as emergency lighting.

The tubes are bright enough that most people don't have to wait for their eyes to adjust and can begin finding their way out of a building right away.

The inventor, Charles Bolta, initially developed the tubes for nuclear submarines. Now he is trying to interest the government in installing the lights in subways, embassies and other potential terrorist targets.

Bolta says the tubes are being tested at the Pentagon and the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., as well as the submarine USS Alabama.

The lights, however, cost five times as much as regular fluorescent tubes.

Even if the tubes are shattered by an explosion, the shards will still provide light, says Bolta. The company also has developed a more expensive, shatterproof version strong enough to withstand the blow of a hammer.

The tubes can even be removed from their fixture and carried around as portable light sources.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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