• Text smaller
  • Text bigger
File photo of traditional incandescent light bulbs pictured at an apartment in Munich August 31, 2009. A German entrepreneur is  bypassing a European Union ban on light bulbs with 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 banned the sale of bulbs with over 60 watts from September -- to the annoyance of the mechanical engineer from the western city of Essen. TO GO WITH REUTERS LIFE! GERMANY-HEATBALLS/  REUTERS/Michael Dalder/Files  (GERMANY BUSINESS ENERGY ENVIRONMENT)

Congress apparently is waking up to the concept that Americans are fully capable of making their own choice about the type of light bulbs they use, and the dangers that are presented by the so-called “green” compact fluorescents the Democrat majority mandated for public use a few years back.

A team of some 15 members of the U.S. House has introduced, and is working for support of the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, H.R. 91, which simply would repeal Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, “which is a de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb.”

That ban on incandescents is scheduled to take effect fully in 2012.

Claiming that incandescents were bigger consumers of energy than compact fluorescent bulbs, Congress banned their existence in favor of the CFLs. There has been, ever since, a wave of opposition because of the government’s decision to micromanage light bulb choices, as well as the possible dangers from those CFLs.

Are you pro-choice – on light bulbs? Get the illuminating bumper sticker!

Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas; Michael Burgess, R-Texas; and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, were among the 15 House members to introduce the plan.

Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum, applauded their work.

“When Elena Kagan was asked in her confirmation hearing by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., if it would be constitutional for the government to order all of us to eat ‘three fruits and three vegetables every day,’ she evaded answering. She is part of the progressive Obama administration that is committed to the unconstitutional notion that government should tell us how to spend our own money and live our lives, even within our own homes,” Schlafly wrote.

“The essence of Obamacare is forcing individual Americans to buy health insurance they don’t want. Federal Judge Henry Hudson just ruled it is unconstitutional to force Americans to buy health insurance, and we shouldn’t be forced to buy light bulbs we don’t want.”

Besides, look at the known dangers from CFLs, she wrote.

“CFLs are so toxic because of the mercury in the glass tubing that the cleanup procedure spelled out by the Environmental Protection Agency is downright scary. The EPA warns that if we break a CFL, we must take the pieces to a recycling center and not launder ‘clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage,’” she wrote.

“CFLs must be rather dangerous if they will pollute the sewage,” she said.

Burgess told WND the ban on incandescents, signed into law by President Bush, “was one of those areas Congress clearly overstepped its authority.”

He said he fought the ban back in 2007 in subcommittee, in committee and on the U.S. House floor, unsuccessfully. But he said the measure actually would be counterproductive.

He cited a home construction project he was involved with where dimmer switches were installed through the structure to save electricity. However, CFLs don’t work with dimmer switches.

“We were making a responsible decision about how much energy to purchase,” he said, “and then the government says that ‘we’re going to tell you how much you can use.’”

“This is about more than just energy consumption, it is about personal freedom. Voters sent us a message in November that it is time for politicians and activists in Washington to stop interfering in their lives and manipulating the free market. The light bulb ban is the perfect symbol of that frustration. People don’t want Congress dictating what light fixtures they can use,” said Barton.

“Traditional incandescent bulbs are cheap and reliable. Alternatives, including the most common replacement Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFLs, are more expensive and health hazards – so why force them on the American people? From the health insurance you’re allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to you and your family,” Barton said.

“These are the kinds of regulations that make the American people roll their eyes. It is typical of a ‘big Washington’ solution to a non-existent problem. In this case it manifests itself as an overreach into every American home, one that ships good jobs overseas and infuriates the American consumer,” added Blackburn.

Other co-sponsors include: Reps. Todd Akin, R-Mo.; Rob Bishop, R-Utah; Paul Broun, R-Ga.; Ann Marie Buerkle, R-New York; Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Howard Coble, R-N.C.; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; Tom McClintock, R-Calif.; Ron Paul, R-Texas; Steve Scalise, R-La.; Cliff Stearns, R-Fla.; and Don Young, R-Alaska.

The members of Congress noted the CFL drawbacks:

  • Most CFLs are not manufactured in the United States. A recent Washington Post story reported that GE is shuttering a plant in Winchester, Va., killing 200 jobs in the process.

  • CFLs contain mercury and have to be disposed of carefully. The amount of mercury in one bulb is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. The EPA recommends an elaborate cleanup ritual, including throwing away any clothes or bedding that has come in direct contact with the mercury from the bulb.
  • CFLs are not designed to be turned off and on frequently; the lifespan of a CFL may be reduced by up to 85 percent if you switch it off and on a lot.
  • People with certain health conditions can be harmed by CFLs. Reactions range from disabling eczema-like reactions, to light sensitivities that can lead to skin cancer.
  • And the Energy Star program warns that CFLs can overheat and smoke.

The course reversal being considered now in Congress already has been endorsed by talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh.

“One of the first things the Democrat Congress did when they were sworn in and took the oath in 2007 was this light bulb ban,” Limbaugh said recently. “So I think symbolically one of the first things we ought to do is repeal it. …

“The government ought to have not a damn thing to say about the light bulb I buy.  It’s none of their business, especially when this is based on a total, freaking hoax [climate change].”

“It insults my intelligence that so many people can be made to believe that light bulbs could destroy or irreparably harm something as complex and out of our control as the climate!” he shouted. “I don’t care if there are billions of light bulbs on at the same time. I don’t care. It’s not a factor.”

Limbaugh then went on a tirade about Big Brother-style intrusion and incompetence:

They have no business whether I buy a Big Mac, nobody’s business how many calories are in it, nobody’s business whether there’s food justice or what the hell, what kind of toys are in a Big Mac Happy Meal. These people are an order of fries short of a Happy Meal, as far as I’m concerned, and they got no business telling me what kind of lightbulb I can and can’t have and when I can turn the damn thing on and off, but they sure want that power. …

For crying out loud, we got a missile we can’t even figure out what it was. We can’t figure out where it came from. And they’re telling us not to worry about it even though they don’t have the slightest clue what it is. Bottom line is they do know what it is and they don’t think we can handle being told what it is. They know what it is, we got satellites all over the world that pinpoint this kind of thing.

And now we’ve got the stupid TSA, Big Sis, all the radiation and crotch grabs, people wearing latex gloves for cavity searches now for people getting on airplanes under the guise of preventing terrorism and so forth. No matter where you look, these incompetent SOBs are trying to take over every aspect of our lives.


If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.


  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.