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The Federal Govt has banned incandescent lamps - FALSE!

Like a weed that keeps reappearing in your garden, the myth that the Federal Government has BANNED the incandescent light bulb continues to crop up and cause angst among consumers.  And what’s worse, pundits and elected officials who should know better are doing their best to help it spread.  It is particularly distressing to hear free-market conservatives spin this issue as another example of government intrusion into our lives and homes.

As NEMA, its member companies, and energy conservation advocates have pointed out repeatedly, the Energy Independence and Security Act that President Bush signed in 2007 does NOT ban incandescent lamps.  Instead, it rightfully and progressively sets efficiency standards that manufacturers must meet by specified dates.  It’s true that existing models of incandescent bulbs fail to meet those standards and thus will be phased out of the market beginning in 2012.   But there is nothing to prevent producers from marketing more efficient incandescents, or bulbs with similar technologies that meet the standards and retain many of the same benefits we’ve enjoyed from the old style bulbs.

In fact, the law provides strong incentives for companies to do just that and the fruits of their efforts are already appearing on the market.  Halogen lamps, for example, are essentially a high efficiency replacement for the general duty 60-watt and 100-watt incandescents.  Unlike compact fluorescents – which, despite what you may hear, DO NOT create an urgent health hazard within the home – halogens contain no mercury.  They screw in easily, are dimmable, light up immediately, and last a long time.  You can buy them now at your local "big-box" home store.  What’s not to like?

Enough already.  Anyone is free to horde incandescents and continue to use them as long as they like.  But the Federal Government is not “strong-arming” American consumers over light bulbs in the manner that Dana Perino, Stuart Varney, Congressman Fred Upton, and too many others would have you believe.  People wanting more information should contact NEMA, the American Lighting Association, or the Alliance to Save Energy.

Posted 01-06-2011 11:42 AM by Kohorst, Mark


Paladin wrote re: The Federal Govt has banned incandescent lamps - FALSE!
on 01-07-2011 7:56 PM


Unlike compact fluorescents – which, despite what you may hear, DO NOT create an urgent health hazard within the home –halogens contain no mercury

===>if this is the case, then why are we switching? If CFL are so safe, then why make this statement? Admitting that the Halogen bulbs are safe by  having no mercury automatically precludes your argument. You're admitting there's a problem.


This might not be a ban, however, how do you explain the reduction of choice and removal of bulbs from store shelves? 100 watts and higher are already gone from store shelves in England and 60 watts will soon follow. California just removed 100 watts from shelves. The only thing that will be left are Halogens, which aren't really suitable  for some applications because of heat (they output 1.5x the heat of regular bulbs) and specialty bulbs (which I include candlebaras in this category).  So if you look at the big picture, the obvious is that the most common bulbs ARE being removed, hence, banned.

Also most of the big light makers are closing down incan factories.

So how is this not a ban?

DiLouie, Craig wrote re: The Federal Govt has banned incandescent lamps - FALSE!
on 01-11-2011 3:28 AM

The simple answer to the question, "So how is this not a ban?" is that it's not a ban because it's not a ban. The government established energy standards and it is up to manufacturers to meet them. They can, but they would prefer to continue to invest in their CFLs. If you don't like the reduction in choice, encourage your lamp manufacturer to invest in compliant incandescent lamps. Despite the removal of the cheapest and least-efficient products from the market, consumers will still have a choice: CFLs (which are steadily getting better), halogen screw-in general-service lamps (which I love, they save energy and are nearly equivalent in performance), and soon LED lamps, some of which are made here in America. There are four billion sockets up for grabs, consumer lighting is a big business. It is up to manufacturers now to step up and satisfy consumer demands while increasing efficiency. It's technically feasible and environmentally imperative.

Finally, regarding mercury, the use of incandescent lamps actually increases harmful mercury emissions into the environment, according to research. See this article for more:

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