How Many Light Bulbs Does it Take…
Step one: Have people and pets leave the room, and avoid the breakage area on the way out.
Step two: Open a window or door to the outdoors and leave the room for 5-10 minutes.
Step three: Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.
Step four: Collect materials you will need to clean up the broken bulb.
The procedures listed above are the steps the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a homeowner take PRIOR to the actual clean up of a broken Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulb. The cleanup process itself is quite detailed and varies depending on the type of surface to be cleaned (carpet, hard surface etc.).
When Congress made the decision to “outlaw” versions of the common light bulb, it became imperative that we know about CFL’s, as they are one of the main replacements for the “Thomas Edison” type light bulbs that we have in just about every lamp and light fixture in our homes.
Due to the fact that CFL’s contain mercury, a highly toxic element, they must be handled very carefully to avoid breakage and the release of mercury into the environment. The EPA strongly recommends, and many states require, that all CFL’s be brought to special recycling locations, a bit inconvenient for most of us, to be sure.
When Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) in 2007, they decided to require higher efficiency standards for our basic light bulbs. “As of January 1, 2012, traditional, inefficient 100W incandescent light bulbs will not meet the standards and will no longer be available at most stores.
Similar standards will phase in for other types of light bulbs over the next three years. Traditional 75-watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be available as of January 1, 2013.
Traditional 40 and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be available as of January 1, 2014.”
Congress allowed 22 types of traditional incandescent lamps to be exempt from these new standards but the Department of Energy (DOE), another government office, will monitor sales of these exempted lamps after the law takes effect. If these exempted items double in sales, then more regulations and standards will be implemented by DOE.
In addition to the government telling us which light bulbs we can purchase, we apparently need government monitors for our light bulb sales. I can’t help but wonder how that’s being tracked and what it’s costing us as taxpayers. I also can’t help but wonder what all of these new laws and regulations are costing the businesses that manufacture and sell light bulbs and lamps. Just the cost to re-label these products as required by the Federal Trade Commission, another government agency, can’t be cheap.
One of the many stated purposes of the EISA is, “to move the United States toward greater energy INDEPENDENCE and security.” Isn’t it ironic that while Congress attempts to move the nation towards freedom, we aren’t allowed the freedom to choose our own light bulbs?
CFLs are not without some benefits as they can significantly lower utility bills. To have them as an option for consumers is a plus, but why should the government insist on the removal of certain types of incandescent bulbs? Shouldn’t it be the individual’s choice to weigh the benefits and risks of each of the products? Perhaps households with pets and small children, where light fixtures can easily be broken, would prefer to keep all CFLs out of the home due to the mercury. The extra cost to their electric bill might be worth the peace of mind until their children are older. No doubt these same families, in this deep recession, have already taken the extra measures to turn off lights that are not being used.
The bottom line is that it’s not the role of the Federal Government to monitor and dictate every aspect of our lives, right down to our lighting choices. Have you heard the joke, “How many government agencies does it take to screw in a light bulb?” The answer: “Too many”. Let’s make sure to vote for candidates in the 2012 election who understand the true Constitutional role of the Federal Government.
Now back to those detailed clean up instructions; I wonder if they have a link to where we can buy HAZMAT suits?
 Rahall, Nick (2007-01-12). “H.R. 6″. THOMAS. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-05-12