Compact fluorescent bulbs

Compact fluorescent bulbs last longer than incandescent. This means they will lower energy costs. However while compact fluorescents last longer than incandescents, CFL’s get dimmer with age, effectively reducing lifespan (Intro to Fluorescents, Day 5). Therefore many people think its debatable that CFL’s have a high efficiency rating. Other alternatives like low pressure sodium lamps and LED’s are much more efficient so CFL’s should have a lower rating.

“Most of these new CFLs will make people sick, by emitting radio frequency radiation that contributes to dirty electricity, that can cause migraines, dizziness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, skin irritations, and eye strain.” (Speer-Williams). The biggest problem with CFL’s is that they are a health hazard. CFLs have mercury in them, an average of 5 milligrams a bulb (Ask Us: FAQs – Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs) . Mercury is one of the most toxic elements on Earth. Many people are not comfortable with the idea that CFL bulbs contain mercury. The widespread use of the CFL bulb will bring mercury closer to everyone and accidents are prone to happen.

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The disposal of CFL’s is also something that needs to be treated correctly. Because it contains mercury CFL bulb’s can not just be dumped in the bin. You need to take them to a special waste dump where they will be handled accordingly. The consumer needs to know this otherwise, the mercury can be mixed with our normal waste dump and many consequences could follow.

The banning of incandescent light bulbs means that companies which make them which have to let people go but of course there will also be new job opportunities because they will need to have more companies manufacturing new light sources. The problem though is that the manufacturing process for CFL’s is more expensive than that of an incandescent bulb. Which means some small bulb factories will not have the financial strength to make CFL’s and have to close down.

The american bulb making company GE (General Electric) opted to close its plant in Winchester. 200 workers were fired (Kolom). They decided against changing the plant and producing CFL’s as the manufacturing cost and cost for labour was too high. The same scenario is likely to happen in other incandescent light bulb factories which create a demand and cheaper labour in still developing countries. China’s CFL industry will see a boom as they have cheap labour rates and can make a mass amount because of the amount of labour workers they have (Kolom).

Because of the ban, prices for incandescent light bulbs will rise and the closer they come to total phasing out of the bulbs the more expensive they will be (Alter). The reason being that home owners, whom really enjoy the incandescent bulb, begin stockpiling. They collect many incandescents so that when they’re phased out they still have a supply to sustain them. Also the incandescent light bulb will most definitely create a black market for itself after the ban is in place. The bulbs will probably be sold for inflated prices. If we don’t ban the bulbs we can stop the flow the bulbs in to the black market and sell it at stores where the tax can be receive once a bulb is bought.

I don’t believe that the government should be enforcing this law. By banning the bulbs you limit market choice. Incandescent bulbs are not dangerous or harmful in any way and you can’t just ban things which are bad for the environment without spending some time to think of the consequences. What would people think if the government suddenly banned all cars, I’m sure they emit more CO2 in the atmosphere than a house full of incandescent light bulbs. Many people consider this a weak move by the government because they are not able to sell enough incandescent light bulbs without a ban. They probably are right because, if the other alternatives are so good why not let people make up their own minds and let them buy want they want. If the product is convincing people will eventually switch .

General electric is the biggest maker of light bulbs in the world but have decided against not manufacturing the the 100 watt incandescent light bulb. They said that they support the continued development of energy efficient light sources but they do not think that banning the incandescent light bulbs or any other technology, which limits consumer choice, is the right way to approach the problem. (Is it ‘lights out’ for incandescent bulbs?)

Conclusion

I believe that we should not ban the sales of incandescent light bulbs but rather limit the production of the bulbs. A substitute for the ban could be an taxation on incandescent light bulbs. A tax would reduce the current sales and would retain consumer choice. Taxation to reduce the amount of incandescents bought would make much more sense. The governments can use the income to reduce emissions, which could go to developing the LED technology. However, the taxation is only a substitute. I don’t think that incandescent should be taxed. We should strive to make advances with LED technology so it can become our number one light bulb but until it emits enough lumens and is cheap so that everyone has the possibility to buy them we will have to wait. LED bulbs are the future because first they are one of the most efficient alternatives.

Unlike low-pressure sodium lamps which take time to switch on, LED’s are instantly ready. They are flicker free and can show any colour. With LED’s, you can also dim the bulbs, which CFL’s can’t as they are forced to work on full power. Lastly, LED’s have a amazing life span. An LED bulb can last up to 30,000 – 50,000 hours, though some say they can last 100,000. (LED Lighting). Once we make advances with new types of alternatives the banning/taxation of incandescent won’t even be necessary because the new alternatives by then would be affordable and an obvious choice over the incandescents.

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