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Ready for another rant? CF light bulbs

April 28, 2007
  Just this week our national environment minister announced that Canada will be banning incandescent light bulbs in favour of compact fluorescent bulbs to reduce carbon emmisions in the atmosphere.  I would like to point out many reasons why this is an extremely dumb idea.
  • compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury.  If the entire nation starts using them that means there are more toxins being added to our environment as they are disposed of in the landfills.   Although there are methods of recycling the bulbs so they don’t become toxic waste, most people will not do it.  Most people won’t even recycle their water bottles!
  • fluorescent bulbs have light that cycles and can flicker and may not be seen but in some people can cause headaches and eyestrain and general discomfort.  As the bulbs get older this phenomena becomes more prominent.  The symptoms may also be caused due to the limited spectrum they provide.
  • normally they cannot be used with dimmer switches and with the varying voltage it can cause more flickering and can shorten the lifespan of the bulb.  I have never seen one available.  Here is more info about lighting controls,
  • plants will not grow under these lights.
  • Most are not recommended for outdoor applications, in cool weather they become quite dim and should not be exposed to moisture.
  • They can be been known to be affected by motors such as the refrigerator, and can effect electrical signals and electronics, such as radios, telephones and the television remote.
  • in B.C. our electricity comes from hydro, meaning if we switched to CF bulbs we may save electricity, but we won’t be making any impact on carbon emmissions.

  From all appearances most information about these bulbs is really slanted and unbalanced.  This makes me suspicious of the absolute claims that are being made of the product.

  So what is the alternative?  I have recently noticed some LED lights available on the market.  They are mercury free, do not cycle, and last up to 10 times longer then CF lights.  Although the light output has been poor (think of the Christmas light bulbs) the technology is getting better and they are now grouping the LEDs in the product to produce more light (take a look at your newer traffic light bulbs).  Unfortunately they are not yet widely available and are still even more expensive.

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