Republicans Lead Effort to Repeal Light Bulb Ban

Texas Insider Report: Washington, D.C. – Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, Michael Burgess, R-Texas, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, joined 12 other Republicans to reintroduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act or BULB Act, H.R. 91.

The BULB Act repeals 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.

“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 Rep. Barton. “Traditional incandescent bulbs are cheap and reliable. Alternatives, including the most common replacement Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFL’s, 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.”

“Thousands of American jobs have been shipped overseas as a direct consequence of this light bulb provision in the Democrats’ 2007 energy bill,” Burgess said. “I have stated all along that exposing our citizens to the harmful effects of the mercury contained in CFL light bulbs, which are being manufactured in China, is likely to pose a hazard for years to come. Not only would this bill be better for the environment, but it would be one step to bringing jobs back to America.”

“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 Rep. Blackburn.

Other co-sponsors include: Reps. Todd Akin (R-Missouri), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Paul Broun (R-Georgia), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-New York), Dan Burton (R-Indiana), Howard Coble (R-North Carolina), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Tom McClintock (R-), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), Cliff Stearns (R-Florida), and Don Young (R-Alaska).

Alternatives to traditional incandescent bulbs have many drawbacks. They are all considerably more expensive. The most common alternative, compact florescent light bulbs have a number of problems:

 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.

 The Energy Star program warns that CFLs can overheat and smoke.


  1. Think about who was in office when this bill passed. Jumping to the conclusion that the left wing liberals are trying to kill us with Mercury is downright silly, especially since President Bush signed this act back in 2007. Energy use is a personal choice, but almost every one of our appliances made in the US could not be sold overseas because they use too much energy. Energy Star is a step in the right direction. We can not continue to import such large quantities of oil and natural gas without spending billions on protecting the flow of these energy sources. So all you libertarians out there that don’t want to be told anything by the government should stockpile bulbs and burn them for as long as you can. Meanwhile the rest of us will submit to the wishes of those in Washington that are trying to take a long term look at making this country self sustainable. Sure the bulbs come from China, but so do all the TV and computer screens. They also contain heavy metals; are we to do away with them as well. The simple reason the Chinese are building these components is that our companies can not compete with them because of environmental, social, and economic issues. If we had health care then companies would not have to include that in the bottom line and might be more able to compete with other countries for the production of things like cars and light bulbs. We are the most productive workers in the world but when you add in all the other costs to make a product using american workers, we struggle to compete. So let Mr Obama provide the health care instead of the company you work for. If you want a deluxe policy then ante up additional money for it, but don’t deny others basic coverage. The environmental costs are more complex and we seem to be shifting the worst of these overseas so that other countries can pay for them. No easy answers, but we can all start by cutting back our energy and resource usage and then try to make other efforts to make our limited resources last longer. Best of luck with those light bulbs and remember they are a 140 year old technology – is that why the plants are still in the US????

  2. Folks need to learn about “Peak Oil” (check wiki) in order to understand why energy efficient lighting is important.

  3. I have been hoarding the incandescent bulbs. While at my local Jewel-Osco store I noticed that their brand, “homelife” is made in the USA. They were $1.09 for a pack of four, on sale, and right next to them was a pack of 4 CFLs, on sale for $9.99. Check out store brand bulbs, and other items, I’m finding that they are usually made in America.

    I hope they ban this stupid legislation as soon as possible.

  4. There are two petitions in support of HR 91, known as the BULB Act, to repeal the provision in HR 6 Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that bans incandescent light bulbs.

    These petitions are being supported by individuals with health issues that are effected by fluorescent lighting, including: Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Anxiety, Autism, learning disabilities, DYSLEXIA, AD/HD, immune system disorders and more. Symptoms experienced by the effected individuals include: nausea, migraine headaches, eye stain, agitation, PANIC DISORDER, depression, fatigue, digestive problems, heart palpitations and the list keeps growing of the symptoms becoming linked to the use of CFL.

    Even though the current bill, HR 91, is primarily based on freedom of choice, we who want the provision repealed for health reasons wholeheartedly support it. Please consider joining this effort.

  5. Along with the other objections to these “wonder bulbs” is the fact that I like to have light when I flip the switch. Not wait 5 minutes or so and have about 1/2 light (I’m going blind trying to read by them) and they really don’t last any longer than an incandescent.

  6. Please, please, please lead me to the nearest BULB petition! I’m terrified of leaving them on when I have to go out, since the base of one of them caught fire after being on about 6 hours. I’m going to stock up on incandescants in the meantime.

  7. The legislation regarding the light bulbs was one of those ideas that sounded good at the time, but no one took the time to carefully think about the unintended consequences. This shallow thinking is typical of the liberal mindset. And it has been typical of most members of congress. Perhaps the new folks will do a better job of thinking thru the problems and come up with better solutions.

  8. It never ceases to amaze me at the amount of misinformation people throw out as ‘facts’ to justify their position. 30% of the above facts are actually disputed by numerous reliable sources, and an additional 30% more are clearly wrong and erroneous information, easily verified from scientific sources and observations.

    ‘Aunt Matilda’ who minds her pig farm and heard something about ‘them lightbulbs’ from her third cousin, is not a source you should be quoting as ‘fact’.

    Instead of fear-mongering or reciting what you heard over your last beer as fact, go educate yourself a little more before you conclude what is right or wrong about an issue.

    What a novel concept: Educated opinion as opposed to rhetoric…

  9. Dusty,
    One party rule in Congress at the time of the bill passing. Democrats.

    CA has banned the 100W effective Jan 1. CA Democrats have controlled both houses of the legislature since 1970 except for 2 years where they lost control of only one house. Virtually 20 plus years of one party rule. And people wonder what’s up with CA? Governors don’t write laws.

    The inventories are now left to be depleted.
    Hoarding – you bet. Best to special order, get discounts buying bulk.
    It will be interesting to see how and who fights this repeal attempt.
    Need to continue keeping score and vote out those who continue to eliminate our freedom to choose and prevent the markets from delivering the best products.

    I believe they are still producing them in Mexico. This could be a new era of ‘smuggling’.
    Hard to believe we have to smuggle a light bulb we choose to use in our homes.
    Time to get rid of those who don’t believe in the ‘The Power of Choice’.
    We need Milton and Rose Friedman brought back to life.

  10. I will give up my old fashioned incandescent light bulbs when they pry my cold dead fingers away from them! Bought ONE CFL just to say I did…and won’t waste another dime on them. It didn’t last long and I had to take it to the hazardous waste dump. I am stockpiling incandescent bulbs so I never run out!

    JJ I will sell you some!

  11. You go guys!
    Up here in Canada, the powers that be are forcing the same thing. Repeal this ban, and rest assured, you will have a guaranteed market of Canadians ordering the traditional light bulb across the border.

  12. II would think that in a world of massive unemployment, massive illegal immigration and immeasurable debt, these guys would find something a little less mundane and more significant for Texans than to waste valuable time screwing with light bulbs. Wake up guys, especially regarding the ENERGY & COMMERCE areas of oil, oil and gas production. We are at the mercy of foreign oil producers and being held hostage by invironmentalists. Placing concern for wilderness beauty and blocking development of our own natural resources for domestic use (gas prices especially) and coal export to coal-hungry buyers overseas borders on moronic. The USA possesses immesrurable quantity of both plus huge reserves of naatural gas and we are listening to domestic environmental terrorists and sending billions of our country’s wea;th to people who are exploiting these tree huggers? Somebody (Republicans in Congress) should man-up and get these resources in play as rapidly as we responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tens of thousands of jobs and huge savings are at-hand and we are dancing in the lifeboat. Is anyone in Congress listening, Joe?

  13. I agree they need to lift the ban. This is the most DUMBEST thing I have ever heard of. I cant even believe Bush signed this into law back in 07. I am going to start stock piling incandescent bulbs.

  14. If our legislators keeps up this line of thinking, maybe some years from now,rather than change important issues of the CFL legislation they might start to weigh the relative value of starting to drill/use our own massive reserve of oil in ANWAR and off-shore versus the need to maintain the “Pristine” beauty of the wilderness which NO ONE except for an occasional hunter of fisherman in a seaplane sees. We also need to stop and reverse the federal land-grabs in the West Don’t use the tired environmental terrorist claim of savings the Carribou and wilderness. . Clearly Prudo Bay pipeline evidence shows that the herd doubles every five years. FAIL! I’m sick of depending on our Arabic “friends”? controlling our ENERGYl supply. Also our coal supply is the potential source of emmince revenue and taxes for export worldwide. The Democrats have stifled our economy for decades now and it’s time to shutdown the EPA and its bureaucratic thugs. We can move forward with Common Sense and determination If the liberals want separation of church/state, kill the sacred cows of the invironmentalist “religion”. Are our representative on the take or simply too timid to speak up for us? Are you reading this, Joe and Mike?

  15. Please repeal this law. I work in Boulder Colorado and where I work (a medical office) all they use are CFL’s. Recently a co-worker broke a new bulb on a counter. I heard him sweap the broken bulb into a trash can and then use a vacuum to clean the rest. I showed the Doctor and office manager the recommended process to clean up broken bulbs and they looked at me like I was out of my mind and told me I was over reacting. This scares me to death. How long before our work spaces, landfills and ground water become so contaminated it’s irreversible. Just for though, per OSHA regulations if you are removing or placing amalgum fillings and the filling material drops on the floor you have to call OSHA and have a HAZMAT team come out and clean up even the smallest spill, per California OHSA regulations.

  16. Please, Please send some of your legislators to New Jersey. We make San Francisco look good !
    The lefties in NJ government want to control every single aspect of your daily life and there is no real liberty here. Most adults would move, but their adult kids are here and they don’t want to leave them.
    And…….when we go bankrupt ( and we will ), don’t let the idiot in White House bail us out.

  17. Thank you for having some common sense! I know I am not the only one concerned about the mercury in the florescent light bulb. Clearly there should be more disclosure of this in the media. There are warnings for pregnant women about eating fish because of the mercury, why not for something that will be in every household, business and school in America?

  18. You do your best to keep your children healthy, but sickness and accidents are a part of life. Getting health insurance for your children gives you peace of mind knowing they have health coverage when they need it. Search one the web “Wise Health Insurance” for kids they are the best.

  19. Texans should not wait for 2012 and a new US Senate and President to begin courting the use of incadescent bulbs.

    Instead, we (Texans) should nullify Subtitle B of Title III of the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”, NOW, and bring the manufacturers of the incandescent bulb into Texas. As other states being to nullify the same, or when Washington brings the bulbs back, Texas will be ahead, once again, in the “creating jobs” business.


  21. “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.”

    I wish I’d have known that before I replaced 18 bulbs with the junk from China. I paid almost $4.00 ea. for them and they didn’t last as long as the old fashioned incandescent bulbs they were to replace. I hope this stupidity of forcing this junk on us don’t happen. A lot of people will be in the dark. Think about this, these junk bulbs are ONLY made in China, the one place in the world that makes more unreliable products than anywhere else, and these things are so dangerous that they need a Hazmat Cleanup if they break, and this stupid government wants to jam them down our throats. What kind of idiots do we have running this country?

  22. Wait a minute, I need to get out of that mindset. We are the bosses, the congressmen, senators and president serve us not vise-versa. And the judges throughout this land should make their decisions in such a way that the state and U.S. constitutions are upheld.

  23. Hopefully this is the beginning of at least two years of sanity, sound economic logic and the incremental return of freedoms to us serfs/peons.

  24. I agree CW! Let’s hope they continue moving in these positive directions—so far I like a lot of what I see. But we must never always believe what we see…because what we see can be deceiving……always stay alert and vigilant!

  25. NOW this is the first actual intelligent legislation that has be introduced in the last 20 years.

  26. Thank you! Yes, PLEASE end the ban!
    Have you seen the “clean up” instructions for a broken CFL and the amount of mercury they contain!

  27. Myself and several friends are VERY concerned about forcing the use of CFLs and oing away with the safe bulbs we have been using. I pray you will DC the 2007 law! The effects on our health and the environment are VERRY VERY serious and should not be ignored. Thank you for considering this.

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