Light bulb tests shame greenies

Consumer groups want end to EU bulb ban

compact fluorescent light bulb

Compact fluorescent light bulb. Big in the environment for a year or two, but now it appears to be a big mistake in the environment. Mercury vapour, of all things, perhaps the most demonised of environmental hazards; after asbestos. Forcing a dangerous product on consumers before adequate testing – what were you thinking, Greenpeace? You should hang your organisational head in shame.

From Germany comes confirmation of the danger of compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Official tests show the new compact fluorescent lamps to be dangerous if broken.

The energy saving bulbs show mercury levels 20 times higher than regulations allow in the air surrounding them for up to five hours after they are broken, according to tests released on Thursday by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

“If the industry can’t manage to offer safe bulbs, then the incandescent bulbs must remain on the market until autumn of 2011,” said Gerd Billen, the leader of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZVB).

His group encouraged the federal government to push for a suspension of the ban in Brussels until there was a safe and practical alternative.

“It can’t be that the state bans a safe product and replaces it with a dangerous one,” Billen said. read more…

They’re expensive, slow to deliver the promised illumination, can make a buzzing noise and frequently fail well before the claimed seven to 20-year lifetime. Which ruins their claims of saving anything.

No effect on climate

Concerns have been expressed before that they’re unsafe, but now we have confirmation from nothing less than a German environmental organisation.

Why were we persuaded to use them? Because they save energy. So what, you ask? Less energy use means less global warming – did you know that?

It will have no effect on the climate, but that really is the only reason to put these expensive, dangerous light bulbs into our homes.

I hope our politicians get some sense into their heads and don’t ban the incandescent versions until we have adequate LED replacements or make the fluorescent ones truly, honestly safe.

Is that too much to ask?

Views: 84

11 Thoughts on “Light bulb tests shame greenies

  1. Richard C (NZ) on 06/12/2010 at 11:03 pm said:

    To really make a difference to the environment , why not take the opportunity to buy Heat Balls instead of CFLBs?

    Each purchased Heat Ball ® a donation of € 0.30 on a project to Rainforest Conservation!

    To further supplement your green cred and as a reward for saving the rainforest, don’t miss this offer of Free Carbon Offsets

    You’ll be glad that you did.

  2. Andy on 07/12/2010 at 7:24 am said:

    Don’t expect anything resembling common sense from the EU.

    On a an EU related topic, Richard North once again brings up the subject of the CER/CFC scam.

    In short, the Chinese are manufacturing CFCs for the sole purpose of destroying them, and thereby gaining carbon credits, which are around 70 times the cost of production. Nice little earner…

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/12/2010 at 9:29 am said:

      Andy O/T

      You were right about the NYTs Watergate – Wikileaks – Climategate double standard.

      3 monkeys, 2 with unimpaired sensory channels, the 3rd hearing, seeing and speaking no evil.

      I see the Swiss have closed Assanges’ bank account – Swiss bank heist ???

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/12/2010 at 9:34 am said:

      Swiss cut off bank account for WikiLeaks’ Assange

      Postfinance spokesman Alex Josty told The Associated Press the account was closed Monday afternoon and there would be “no criminal consequences” for misleading authorities.

      “That’s his money, he will get his money back,” Josty said. “We just close the account and that’s it.”

      The setback leaves Assange with only a few options for raising money for his secret-spilling site through a Swiss-Icelandic credit card processing center and accounts in Iceland and Germany.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/12/2010 at 10:39 am said:

      Not Watergate sorry – it was Pentagon Papers

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 07/12/2010 at 8:14 am said:

    “what were you thinking, Greenpeace?”

    TrustPower handed out discount coupons for CFLBs in a promotion a while ago so there will be red faces in a number of organizations sucked in by this lunacy. I know people that installed them only to have them blow immediately (might have been due to high voltage – dunno).

    “Why were we persuaded to use them? Because they save energy. So what, you ask? Less energy use means less global warming – did you know that?”

    Even this is disputed in Germany, hence the Heat Ball saga. The argument is that incandescants are as useful for heating purposes as they are for light. In summer, lighting isn’t used much but in winter 2 or 3 x 100W (0.2-0.3kW) incandescents not only light a room but heat it as well. If that heat source is taken away the heat must be made up some other way, possibly by fossil fuel. I know I use incandescents for heat as much as light.

    German “heatball” wheeze outwits EU light bulb ban

    BERLIN | Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:51am EDT

    (Reuters) – A German entrepreneur is bypassing a European Union ban on light bulbs of more than 60 watts by marketing his own brand as mini heaters.

    Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law have come up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs — by producing them in China, importing them as “small heating devices” and selling them as “heatballs.”

    To improve energy efficiency, the EU has banned the sale of bulbs of over 60 watts — to the annoyance of the mechanical engineer from the western city of Essen.

    Rotthaeuser studied EU legislation and realized that because the inefficient old bulbs produce more warmth than light — he calculated heat makes up 95 percent of their output, and light just 5 percent — they could be sold legally as heaters.

    On their website (, the two engineers describe the heatballs as “action art” and as “resistance against legislation which is implemented without recourse to democratic and parliamentary processes.”

    Costing 1.69 euros each ($2.38), the heatballs are going down well — the first batch of 4,000 sold out in three days.

    Rotthaeuser has pledged to donate 30 cents of every heatball sold to saving the rainforest, which the 49-year-old sees as a better way of protecting the environment than investing in energy-saving lamps, which contain toxic mercury.

    DDR stole 40,000 little heatballs

    Because the first packages of 4,000 heatballs – sold for EUR 1.69 or USD 2.30 per piece – were instantly sold out, the entrepreneur ordered 40,000 additional heatballs. However, they were immediately confiscated by the DDR custom apparatchiks at the Cologne International Airport and the engineer was actually arrested for a while: he became a kind of dissident in the DDR.

    An official propaganda mouthpiece of Business Green describes the business idea as “orchestrated two fingers” to the Brussels. 🙂

    To be honest, they authorities are still investigating what the products actually are used for – by polls etc. Why don’t they ask a physicist instead of random consumers what is the primary purpose of the product? As a physicist, I can assure them that a vast majority of the energy in the product is used for heating, so it should be considered a heating device and the regulations invented for light sources shouldn’t apply. 😉

    This point doesn’t seem obvious to them and they’re unfortunately in charge. You just can’t import miniature sources of heat to the DDR, stupid! The message is Don’t mess up with arrogant totalitarian ideologies. The DDR and EUSSR comrades have apparently forgotten the weather that German soldiers experienced near Stalingrad so they want to deny their citizens their right to possess heatballs. 😉

  4. Ron on 07/12/2010 at 11:23 pm said:

    OT Anyone know who this NZer is? Monckton’s Kook of the Week in Cancun. Evidently a delegate with Global Forest Coalition… How embarrassing.

    H/T WUWT

    • Ron on 08/12/2010 at 12:44 am said:

      a WUWT commenter has supplied the details:

      “Anoneumouse says:
      December 7, 2010 at 1:06 am
      The Kooks name is Sandy Gauntlett he is an environmental activist of Maori descent. He lectures in indigenous resource management at the indigenous university of Te Wananga O Aotearoa in New Zealand. He also chairs the Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition and the Pacific Regional Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition.”

      The beehive website mentions that in June this year he was appointed to the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust Board. Wonder who paid his fare to Cancun.

    • Andy on 08/12/2010 at 12:27 pm said:

      Facebook page looks interesting:


      Gay Rights

  5. Australis on 10/12/2010 at 12:13 am said:

    Times have changed!

    In 2007, Republican Congressman Fred Upton co-sponsored a bill to make incandescent lightbulbs illegal in USA from 2012. President GW Bush signed it into law later that year.

    Now, Upton would like to chair the Energy Committee for the Republican-dominated House. As part of his appeal, he has promised that the repeal of his 2007 lightbulb Act will be the first order of business if he becomes chairman.

    (Democrats say repeal won’t get through the Senate)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation