The great compact fluorescent light bulb hoax

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are portrayed as the savior of our planet by environmentalists.  But the European Union’s ban on using incandescent light bulbs will cut Britain’s yearly emissions of carbon dioxide by about 0.64%, according to New Scientist.  Since compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, the ban will also increase mercury pollution and expose Britons to the health risks of exposure to mercury, which is one of the most toxic substances on earth.

If you’re caught smuggling an incandescent light bulb into the European Union, you can be hit with a fine of £5000. If compact fluorescent light bulbs were really so wonderful, you wouldn’t need a government ban on their alternatives.  You wouldn’t need fines to compel people to use them.

Legislation passed by Congress in 2007 is pushing the United States down the same stupid road Europe is now traveling.  Government is telling us what kind of light bulbs we must use, exposing our families to serious health risks and exposing our environment to significant damage, and it’s all based on dubious claims from eco-nuts.



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6 responses to “The great compact fluorescent light bulb hoax

  1. Keith Motton

    I have several questions about these CFLs and how they are supposed to save the planet.

    1) How is a lightbulb that is only made in China more energy efficient than one that was made in Ohio?
    2) How is a lightbulb that is only sold in a plastic blisterpack more environmentally friendly than one that was sold in a recycled cardboard box?
    3) How is a lightbulb that contains mercury, a hazardous material known to cause brain defects in laboratory animals, more environmentally friendly than one that contains only metal and glass?
    4) How is a lightbulb that I have to drive back to the store when it’s burned out more environmentally friendly than one I can put in the household garbage?
    5) What is the waste from the old incandescent bulb? Your 60-watt incandescent gives 10 watts of light and 49 watts of heat. I pay to heat my house for about ten months a year. The 49 watts that is not coming off my lightbulbs (out of a hydro-electric generating station, which is clean) now must come out of my 70-year-old Gurney oil-burning boiler, or out of my wood stove. That’s green!
    6) Compact fluorescents strobe at 60hz in North America, and 50hz elsewhere. Anyone who suffers from epilepsy, migraine headaches, or a host of other health problems, can have seizures triggered by the strobing effect of these lights. The Edison incandescent cannot be flashed at 2hz even if you wanted to – they take that long to cool down and stop glowing.

    When we bought the house, we replaced about half the bulbs with CFL – 14 of 35 lights. In three years, five of the CFLs have burned out. The only remaining incandescent that I have replaced was the one I hit with a ladder. Remember, all these incandescents are WELL OVER THREE YEARS OLD, because they came with the house… Now, that’s 5/14 blown of three-year-old CFL, or 35%, versus 1/21 of say 4-year-old incandescent, or less than 5%. Hmmmm….

  2. Besides all the engineering and ecological dangers of these bulbs, they pose a real threat to a small segment of the population. They are not as horrible as old fluorescents for causing seizures, but anyone who has photosensitivity (particularly as one of her/his range of symptoms of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy) can suffer ill effects from any kind of fluorescent light, up to and including seizures.

  3. Drew Royster

    Hey I would like to clear some things up…
    To the OP

    The use of CFL light bulbs in no way increases mercury pollution. The production of an incandescent light bulb causes much more mercury to be produced than a CFL takes throughout their life. I understand the distribution of the mercury is a scary situation for some, but the amount of mercury in a CFL light bulb is equivalent to what is found in a TUNA FISH SANDWICH.

    And to my buddy Keith…

    I must suggest that you invest in a more efficient heater. The heat coming off of an incandescent is not enough to make a significant difference in the temperature of your home, but it is enough to draw 4 times the energy of a CFL bulb. That is the definition of inefficiency. Your essentially putting in more than what’s necessary and not getting the surplus back.

    And regarding the engineering aspect of CFL’s

    They have only been improving since your last post. They last longer, are generally brighter and I don’t think I need to restate the efficiency aspect.

    I am not a green freak I just appreciate when things work well and efficiently.

    • Anonymous

      Have you read the advice from the EPA on the cleanup procedure we need to follow in case we have a CFL break in our home.
      See this:
      Any money they may save in electricity is more than offset by the cost of the bulb, cost to replace any fixture, how about the $7 dimmers that I now have and need to replace with a $65 dimmer to operate a special more costly DIMMABLE CFL.
      These CFL’s do not last as long as they claim. I have several of them burn out before older incandescent bulbs on the same circuit.
      They really in no stretch of the imagination can replace an incandescent bulb from a candelabra style chandelier.
      I almost forgot about the gasoline spent to drive the dead CFL’s the an EPA acceptable disposal center instead of my trash container.

  4. MrBigAxe

    From a strictly personal economic standpoint, CFL’s are a terrible choice. I get anywhere from 4 months to 2.5 years from a CFL, whereas I get 3-10 years from an incandescent bulb. The price of the cheapest CFL’s are about triple that of premium brand incandescent bulbs. This means CFL’s cost me between 12 & 27X more than incandescent bulbs. During their short lives, they never make up more than 2% of that in energy savings, even if I run them 24/7.

    Mail all your burned out CFL’s to your US legislators with a short letter stating how long they lasted and how much more than incandescent bulbs they cost.

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