A couple of months ago I heard the issue of energy saving light bulbs (CFL's) was abandoned because the energy saved on other things was supposedly "already enough".
In my view the whole thing is a strange story to begin with since the energy used for light bulbs is like 0.0002% of the total energy we use.
To my horror it seems like now the old bulbs become obsolete by September 1 2009. (what happened there?)
There is a lot wrong with the "energy saving light bulbs", which the authorities choose to ignore or brush off as nonsense.
First of all they are manufactured in low wage countries with non-existing or not implemented laws regarding the way products are manufactured. We are talking here about lamps that contain several highly toxic materials and oftentimes children involved in the labor. So it already starts with health issues (link in Dutch) in the countries were these lamps are manufactured.
Then because it all has to be cheap, the time these lamps lasts (which supposedly should be a lot longer than conventional bulbs) suddenly turns out to be a lot shorter, due to inferior materials.
Of course they need to be transported to the west. Which also costs energy.
The mercury content is an environmental risk, for which the governments should have found a good way to dispose of, but which is lacking. Also the public is not aware of this and does not put disposed lamps in "chemical waste", but in the regular garbage. I have to bicycle for about half an hour to get to the nearest chemical waste point. How realistic is it to expect people to do things like that for every lamp that lost its life? However small the amount of mercury in these lamps is these days, all those small amounts in the environment add up and do pose a health risk.
Then there is the issue of UV light. Reportedly people get skin rashes and other skin problems. We don't know yet if it also will cause cancer ...
Some health officials say you should not sit close to these lamps or be exposed for more than an hour, but who knows that?
We also see a horrifying level of electromagnetic frequencies (yes, the frequencies that the cell phones also have and that cause health concerns). It is called "dirty electricity". Migraine headaches is just one of the symptoms caused by these bulbs ... Read and watch more ...
Of course the color of the light of a CLF is nice for in a factory, but who wants that light in a romantic setting ... ?
It seems that LED is the way to go, unfortunately not yet ready for mass production. But maybe it is worth the wait?
Artwork: The Fabric of Life - by Anne Vis