American Elephants

The Dim Bulbs at the EPA Have Plans for You. by The Elephant's Child

A week ago, the New York Times  carried this headline: “Do New Bulbs Save Energy if They Don’t Work?” People are finding out that the new bulbs are a little more complicated than advertised.  In San Francisco, the Zurchers have a box of  Feit  Electric bulbs that didn’t work.  Inspired by “An Inconvenient Truth” they had decided to replace all of their incandescent bulbs with new compact fluorescent.  But not every fixture will take a CFL bulb.  The bulbs were supposed to burn for 10,000 hours.  If screwed into a fixture where heat will build up — the bulbs will burn out quickly.

What happened?  The Energy Department (a government agency) asked manufacturers in 1998 to create cheaper models and then helped find large-volume buyers to buy them.  That jump-started a mass market and eventually led to sales of discounted bulbs at retailers like Costco and Home Depot.

Consumers are supposed to get some protection by buying bulbs certified under the government’s Energy Star program. In 2007-8 tests, five of 29 models failed to meet specifications for such categories as lifespan, luminosity and on-off cycling. The government is expanding the watchdog program, promising to test samples of 20 percent of the thousands of certified bulb models each year.

“Experts and bulb manufacturers say that consumers need to play a role in solving the problems by learning more about the limitations of compact fluorescent bulbs.  The Federal Trade Commission has begun to study whether it should force improvements in the labels of the bulbs.”

You do understand that the government has ordered the phase out of incandescent bulbs in 2014, don’t you? (You didn’t read that provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007?) The bulbs don’t do well in recessed ceiling fixtures, or with 3-way sockets or dimmers. You don’t mind replacing most of your lamps and fixtures, I’m sure.  One should be aware that CFLs can take one to three minutes to reach full brightness.  This is normal, not a defect. Although they are supposed to last for 10,000 hours, and save as much as $5.40 a year in electricity costs, some bulbs died within a few hours.

Because all fluorescent contain mercury, a toxic metal, they must never be put in the trash, but must be transported to a certified disposal point.  We received a card from our city government that named the certified disposal points.  Most charged a fee per bulb for disposal, and none accepted regular long fluorescent bulbs except the city waste disposal station which is about five miles away, but so far, free.

Because of the mercury, if you drop one and it breaks, you have to call the hazmat crew to dispose of it — that’s somewhere in the $200-$300 range.

The bulbs are manufactured in China, effectively killing of the domestic industry that made incandescent bulbs which will no longer be available. I seem to remember some pious talk about outsourcing and not allowing any more business being moved offshore.  But that was then, and this is now, and the Nanny Government, as usual, doesn’t think things through, never considers consequences, and doesn’t read the bills they pass anyway.

This joins the list of low flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and other annoyances that they have inflicted on us. With the forthcoming designation from the dim bulbs at the EPA of carbon dioxide (you know, the stuff you exhale) as a pollutant, they will have the authority to regulate — well, practically everything.  And now the government will decide just what kind of cars you may have.   Orwellian doesn’t even begin to describe it.  I hope someone is taking notes.

2 Comments so far
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If these poisonous, (Mercury filled), wonder torches were so great why does the electric bill still show the same wattage passages ? When one looks at what is ACTUALLY happening they’ll notice that it’s just a BAIT-N-SWITCH shell game of “THEY aren’t SMART enough to tell”.


Comment by omegetymon

Improper disposal of compact fluorescent light bulbs is very dangerous to your family and to the environment. In some states, it is illegal to put these light bulbs in your trash.

It’s easy to dispose of compact fluorescent light bulbs properly. Just send them to your Senator or Congressman in Washington. Or send them to the EPA.

You can find your Senator’s mailing address here:

You can find your Congressman’s mailing address here:

Or send your used light bulbs to EPA headquarters in Washington:
Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Isn’t your family’s health worth the small postage cost? Don’t you want to help save the planet from this environmental nightmare? You’ll sleep better at night knowing your deadly mercury-containing light bulbs are with the experts in our nation’s capital. Send your light bulbs to Washington!


Comment by dju316

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