Monday, August 8, 2011

Ban on 100W Bulbs Upheld Despite Dangers of CFL Lamps

The House of Representatives failed to pass the “Better Use of Light Bulbs Act,” aimed at repealing legislation mandating energy efficient replacements - such as LED-based lamps - for 100W incandescent lamps beginning January 1st, 2012.

The Republican sponsored bill - which ran contrary to the escalating green movement - failed to achieve the two thirds vote required to repeal the 2007 legislation. Despite the fact that energy efficient lighting will help to significantly energy use, party members believe the government has no place legislating what type of light bulbs citizens buy.

As the January 1st deadline looms, Americans are starting to stockpile incandescent light bulbs in preparation of the government ban, according to a recent article in USA Today.

The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent or LED lamps. It simply requires that companies make their incandescent bulbs work better. In reality, only technologies such as LED and CFL will meet the new government requirements.

Lighting is responsible for nearly 20% of the world's energy consumption, and is one of the easiest places to save energy. But the savings will come with higher upfront costs, which will be recovered over the long lifetime of the lamps.

Failure of the bill is good news for proponents of LED-based solid-state lighting.

Recent studies have linked CFL lamps to a number of health problems including fatigue, eye strain and migraine headaches, and if broken, compact fluorescent are hazardous to your health. Some manufacturers have started to label their boxes with warnings on how to deal with a broken bulb. In fact, some states will now require that you recycle these bulbs at special facilities because of the large amount of mercury contained in each bulb.


In 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), requiring more-efficient light bulbs. The legislation - which takes effect on January 1st - specifically requires that light bulb manufacturers improve the efficiency of 100 watt incandescent lamps (lamps with a light output of 1700 lumens), by 25 percent.

The legislation will apply to 75W, 60W, and 40W lamps in successive years between 2012 and 2014., followed more stringent efficiency requirements beginning 2016.

By Peter Coyne /
August 8, 2011