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.

Green Buildings Hazardous, says Institute of Medicine

Fox News
June 8, 2011

The buildings commonly referred to as “green” could actually be hazardous to your health, according to a new report.

That’s one of many warnings out of a new report from the Institute of Medicine, which tracked the potential impact of climate change on indoor environments.

The report cautions that climate change can negatively and directly affect indoor air quality in several ways. But the scientists behind the study warn that homeowners and businesses could also be making the problem worse by pursuing untested or risky energy-efficiency upgrades.

“Even with the best intentions, indoor environmental quality issues may emerge with interventions that have not been sufficiently well screened for their effects on occupant safety and health,” the report said.

To save costs and cut down on emissions, building owners typically find ways to seal off potential leaks and conserve energy. But in “weatherizing” the buildings, they also change the indoor environment.

By making buildings more airtight, building owners could increase “indoor-air contaminant concentrations and indoor-air humidity,” the report said. By adding insulation, they could trigger moisture problems. By making improvements to older homes, crews could stir up hazardous material ranging from asbestos to harmful caulking — though that problem is not unique to energy improvements.

The report did not dissuade homeowners and businesses from making the energy-efficiency upgrades. Rather, it called for a more comprehensive approach, urging organizations to track the side effects of various upgrades and minimize the “unexpected exposures and health risks” that can arise from new materials and weatherization techniques.

Biofuels Emit 400 percent more CO2 than Regular Fuels

Although CO2 is not the pollutant crazy environmentalists portray it to be, where is the environmental solution on the current use of biofuels if they emit more of that ‘pollutant’ than gasoline or diesel?  There isn’t any.  It’s all about monopoly and control.

By Ethan A. Huff

A recent report issued by the European Union has revealed that biofuels, or fuel made from living, renewable sources, is not really all that beneficial to the environment. Rather than reduce the net carbon footprint as intended, biofuels can produce four times more carbon dioxide pollution than conventional fossil fuels do.

Common biofuels like corn ethanol, which has become a popular additive in gasoline, and soy biodiesel, which is being used in commercial trucks and other diesel-fueled vehicles, are often considered to be environmentally-friendly because they are renewable. But in order to grow enough of these crops to use for both food and fuel, large swaths of land around the world are being converted into crop fields for growing biofuels.

In other words, millions of acres of lush rainforests are becoming corn and soy fields in order to provide enough of these resources for their new uses. The net carbon footprint of growing crops for fuel is far higher than what is emitted from simple fossil fuel usage.

According to the report, American soybeans have an indirect carbon footprint of 340kg of CO2 per gigajoule (GJ), while conventional diesel and gasoline create only 85kg/GJ. Similarly, the European rapeseed, a plant similar to the North American canola, indirectly produces 150kg/GJ because additional land in other nations has been converted to grow rapeseed for food in order to replace the native crops that are now being grown for fuel.

Ironically, the amount of direct and indirect resources used to grow food for fuel is quite high compared to that of conventional fossil fuels. Biofuels also do not burn as efficiently and can be rough on the engines they fuel. Ethanol-enriched gasoline can also reduce gas mileage efficiency by upwards of 25 percent, depending on the vehicle.

Growing food for fuel ends up increasing the price of food for consumers. It also puts additional strain on families, many of whom are already having difficulties making ends meet in current economic conditions.

When all is said and done, biofuels seem to be a whole lot of hype with not a lot of benefit. Environmentally, fiscally and practically, biofuels are a disaster. Fossil fuels may not be an ideal form of clean energy, but at this point in time, they make a lot more sense than biofuels.