Here is an editorial from today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
The fate of Americans making conventional incandescent light bulbs shows the “green” future touted as U.S. manufacturing’s salvation is yet another faulty government premise.
Congress effectively outlawed incandescent bulbs as of 2014 (the measure was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008). The Obama administration portrays their leading “green” replacements — spiral-shaped compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which American engineers developed in the 1970s — as a bonanza for U.S. manufacturers.
Yet The Washington Post reports that when General Electric this month closes its last U.S. incandescent bulb factory in Virginia, that plant’s 200 workers won’t go on to make CFLs for GE. No, they’ll simply be jobless. GE can’t compete with Chinese makers of labor-intensive CFLs.
Compact flourescents indeed use less energy than incandescents. But their “green” benefits are as dubious as their benefits for U.S. manufacturers. The mercury they contain makes routine disposal a pain and a broken CFL practically a hazmat incident — hardly eco-friendly characteristics. They’re also vulnerable to temperature extremes and don’t emit light instantaneously.
Producing unintended negative consequences while failing to deliver promised economic and ecological advantages, compact fluorescent bulbs exemplify yet again just how off-target government “green” policies are.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin. The amount of mercury is large enough that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published instructions on how to safely clean up a broken CFL bulb.
Russell Longcore writes at BestArticle.com:
If you break a CFL bulb, you’ll likely find that the proper cleanup could be very costly. And you’ll likely find that there is NO COVERAGE in your property insurance policy. Most policies have environmental cleanup exclusions. Even if your home is damaged by a tornado, hurricane or fire, the broken bulbs could cause you to incur thousands of dollars in environmental cleanup costs that your insurance policy will EXCLUDE.
If you have to clean up after even one broken CFL bulb, the cleanup costs will probably exceed a lifetime of the promised energy savings from using these dangerous contraptions.
An editorial in the Washington Times describes the reaction of consumers to the European Union’s ban on manufacturing or selling incandescent light bulbs:
Consumers realize the warm glow of a cheap incandescent is superior in every way to the deadly, mercury-filled substitute being foisted upon them. In Finland, Helsingin Sanomat reported that the new ban has not resulted in a surge of sales for the new bulbs that the bureaucrats expected. Instead, 75-watt packages have been flying off the shelves as customers filled their closets, garages and attics with lighting supplies for the long term. Such hoarding has been the rule for more than a year. London’s Daily Mail gave away 25,000 of the 100-watt bulbs as a prize in a January 2009 contest. Der Spiegel reported that German customers left hardware stores with carts jammed with enough incandescent bulbs to last 20 years.
A similar ban on incandescent light bulbs goes into effect on January 1, 2012 in the United States. Maybe there’s still time to end the madness. It worked in New Zealand:
Two years ago, New Zealanders faced an imminent ban. The National Party, at the time in the minority, made overturning the light-bulb scheme a priority in its campaign against the ruling Labor government. The public responded favorably to the party that proclaimed that it “stands for freedom, choice, independence and ambition.” In December 2008, the National Party government overturned the light-bulb ban.
Fans of compact fluorescent light bulbs try to shrug off the fact that these dangerous bulbs contain mercury, a substance that’s very hazardous to our health and our environment. They say that power plants generate mercury, so producing less power means they produce less mercury.
But just about all the compact fluorescent light bulbs used in the United States are produced in China. So, at best, people who use compact fluorescent light bulbs are trading pollution in the United States for pollution in China.
And let’s not forget that the mercury thrown away in compact fluorescent light bulbs each year is enough to pollute nearly every lake, pond, river and stream in North America.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, which is a dangerous and hazardous material. But that’s not the only reason not to like them. Gomestic.com lists some of the other disadvantages of compact fluorescent light bulbs:
- CFLs evolve and newer models are getting better and better all the time. Still, they are not as versatile as incandescent lamps, and can’t be used for every household requirement. For example, CFLs usually take some time between being switched on and achieving full brightness. This time is even longer as the CFL approaches the end of its life. Cold temperatures make the situation even worse, with some CFLs not even starting in cold weather.
- Another downside for CFLs is that their lifespan is shortened considerably when they are switched on and off within short time frames. Think of the light that comes on automatically as you approach your garage, and then turns back off after a few minutes. CFLs are not a good option for this or other light activated motion sensors.
- CFLs are also not very suitable for dimming. If you require a dimmer controlled light source, CFLs are not a good option. Dimming shortens a CFL’s lifespan considerably, and the dimming range is disappointing. You’d really be better off sticking with a regular, incandescent light bulb for dimmed rooms.
- CFLs, unlike incandescent lamps, emit ultra violet and infra red light. The ultra violet light may damage paintings. The infra red, on the other hand, may interfere with remote-controlled devices such as your TV – since these will interpret the infra red light as a signal.
It’s outrageous that Uncle Sam is banning incandescent light bulbs and forcing Americans to use dangerous and inferior compact fluorescent light bulbs. So if you have a compact fluorescent light bulb that doesn’t work any more, send it to Washington. Let them know what you think about their meddling.
Uttar Pradesh is the largest state in India. It has a population of over 190,000,000.
The Times of India reports that the Uttar Pradesh state government has banned the use of incandescent light bulbs in all government buildings and mandated the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs instead:
The orders issued from chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta on Thursday have been sent to all principal secretaries, secretaries, divisional commissioners, district magistrates, heads of the departments, managing directors of public enterprises and corporations and chief executive officers to ensure mandatory use of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) in all government buildings.
The orders further state that out-lived incandescent bulbs should be replaced only with CFLs. The chief secretary has asked all the officials to intimate the power department about the steps taken by them towards energy conservation within 15 days.
The state government has also banned the use of incandescent (conventional) bulbs with immediate effect in all new government buildings coming up. The orders hold true for all government buildings, government-aided institutions, boards, corporations, autonomous bodies and organisations.
Let’s hope the government workers in Uttar Pradesh know how dangerous compact fluorescent light bulbs are. Let’s hope they dispose of their used CFL bulbs properly. Maybe they should send them to chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta in Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh.
Why should you send your used compact fluorescent light bulbs to Washington? Because Washington is forcing you to use these dangerous and inferior bulbs.
An editorial in the New Haven Register explains:
The bulb that has lighted American homes for more than 100 years faces possible extinction in three years thanks to energy-efficiency standards set by Congress in 2007…. Congress has decided Americans should use fluorescent lights, which are more efficient.
Compact fluorescent lights have a number of drawbacks. A major one is that they cost far more than incandescent bulbs. And, they are slow to light, can’t fit in some lamps because of their size, give off less light than a comparable incandescent bulb and produce a cold, unflattering light. On top of all that, fluorescent lights contain mercury, so they should be treated as hazardous waste when thrown out.
If Congress is smart enough to tell you what kind of light bulbs to use, then Congress is smart enough to dispose of your used and broken CFL light bulbs. Send your light bulbs to Washington.