Europe to End Sales of Incandescent Bulbs Tomorrow

Bulbs will be substituted by toxic fluorescent light bulbs filled with mercury.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | AUGUST 31, 2012

The European Union (EU) will officially stop the sale of the traditional incandescent bulbs, whose creation is credited to Thomas Edison. The move is supposed to be a step towards an improvement in performance and savings, however, it is not as simple as that. As The Real Agenda has reported before, the compact fluorescent light bulbs have been found to emit dangerous radiation on top of containing mercury, a strong developmental neurotoxin that damages the liver, brain, kidneys and central nervous system.

Infants and young children are more vulnerable to mercury’s toxicity. There are no safe levels of exposure neither to the radiation not to the mercury. Even low levels of exposure are responsible for causing a number of health problems. The demonstrated effects include impaired motor functioning, cognitive ability and emotional problems. More exposure to both the radiation and the mercury, likely results in more serious health problems.

But despite the proven threats to human health, countries like the United States, Brazil and whole regions such as the EU have established deadlines for the production and sale of the reliable incandescent bulbs. In the EU, the sale of the bulbs will end on September 1 — tomorrow. “They’ve had a great importance, have been a stable light source in the last hundred years,” said Santiago Erice, Philips lighting expert.

Thanks to this first reliable light source, humanity became independent of the sun and could lengthen their workdays and nightfall, which meant a significant increase in productivity and further development. Incandescent bulbs led lighting systems were installed on streets lamps, increasing safety of pedestrians and vehicular traffic. They were also very important for hospitals, libraries, cafes and of course, homes.

The appearance of more efficient light sources paved the way for questions to be put forth about the incandescent bulbs’ efficiency, but no one seemed to care about  the safety of the new compact fluorescent bulbs. As in many other aspects of life, the economic benefits were put before the health of consumers, and just as it happened with the depletion of the ozone layer and the supposedly more efficient home appliances, big business imposed its will. Governments were lobbied enough to not only accept the use of the compact bulbs, but also to put an end to the production and sale of incandescent ones, instead of letting the market take care of the choice.

With LED bulbs’ hefty prices and little practicality, consumers are now literally obligated to purchase the more toxic compact fluorescent ones. While the cost of an incandescent bulb remains at about $ 1 on average, a compact halogen is around $ 7 — depending on the type — and modern LED lamps up to $ 50. The LED is seen as the natural successor to the incandescent, not only for its energy efficiency, but also for its multiple applications (the new screens of televisions, for example), but its cost makes puts it at an unreachable price for millions of people around the world.

So-called Environmental organizations such as WWF and Friends of the Earth welcomed the withdrawal of incandescent bulbs, which they say, will generate less waste due to the longer duration of other bulbs. Not a surprise here as both the WWF and Friends of the Earth are heavily financed by the corporations that sought the end of the incandescent bulb and the adoption of the toxic compact fluorescent bulb.

The withdrawal of incandescent bulbs has increased concerns about the negative health effects that fluorescent bulbs will have on consumers. In the case of Europe, it seems like there is no turning back. Tomorrow they will say farewell to the incandescent and hello to the disease causing compact fluorescent bulb.

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About Luis Miranda
The Real Agenda is an independent publication. It does not take money from Corporations, Foundations or Non-Governmental Organizations. It provides news reports in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese to reach a larger group of readers. Our news are not guided by any ideological, political or religious interest, which allows us to keep our integrity towards the readers.

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