Friday, March 17, 2011:  Updated 3/14/2014

CFL myths exposed

I recently saw a laughably ridiculous anti-CFL video on the Internet the other day.

This is a video clip of Republican Ted Poe of Texas speaking to the US house of representatives.
I am embarrassed that the good people of Texas actually voted this guy into office. Maybe Texas was just having a bad day on election day. 

Mr. Poe begins by saying that "Congress passed an energy bill that should have been called the Anti-American Non-energy bill because it punishes Americans for using energy rather than finding new sources of affordable energy". It goes down hill from there. I listed all his "points" and the actual facts about them below. 

Congress is baning incandescent light-bulbs. Actually, this bill only applies to the (energy wasting, expensive to operate) plain old 100 watt incandescent bulbs in 2012, 75 watt bulbs in 2013, and 60 watt ones in 2014. All other types of incandescent bulbs will remain as they were. Halogens, 3-ways, appliance bulbs, candle bulbs, night lights and every other type of incandescent bulb will still be available.

Nowhere in the constitution does it mention light-bulb regulation. Well, that's because the light-bulb was invented years after the constitution was signed by our founding fathers.  

CFLs must be disposed of properly. That's a good idea but it isn't a law. It's just common sense. After 5-8 years of use, if you forget to take your old bulbs to your local Home Depot or Ikea for recycling and throw them away instead, they could break and maybe leak mercury into landfill. Not to worry though, since you used a CFL instead of an incandescent bulb all this time, you consumed less electricity and prevented 6 times less mercury from being vented directly into the air by not burning as much coal to make the electricity. Good job! 

EPA is making Americans follow clean up rules lest the light-bulb police haul us off to jail? You're acting like a child.  Grow up.

CFLs are expensive.  Over the life of the bulb, each CFL bulb will save the consumer way more in electricity than if they kept using old incandescent bulbs. Also CFLs last up to 8 years so you will save even more money by not buying as many bulbs and not having to change them out as often.

CFLs will fade photographs on the wall.  I'm assuming he is referring to the potential for UV light to somehow leak out of a florescent bulb. As with every light source, there could be long-term photographic fading, so yes CFLs (along with every other natural and artificial light source), it is possible.  The sun however, is the biggest offender of photographic fading but Mr. Poe never mentioned anything about banning sunlight. 

Spectra of various light sources 

Congress is forcing all Americans to use CFLs.  CFLs are recommended based on their hands down good economics and energy savings.  But nobody is putting a gun to your head forcing you to buy CFLs.  You the consumer have every right to continue using any of the vast number of incandescent bulbs. Halogens are still going to be around too.  If you don't want CFLs but still want to save money and energy, LED bulbs are also a good alternative.  

CFLs will cause electronic interference.  Any device that has electronics (or runs on electricity for that matter) has the potential to cause interference. Incandescent lights also cause interference every time you turn them on or off.  Try it for yourself.  Tune an AM radio to an empty channel. Turn on an incandescent bulb. Did you hear the pop noise over the radio when you turn on the light-switch? 
Any device with a switching power supply also has this potential for interference. Your computer, your alarm clock, cell phone charger, the clock on your oven or your garage door opener.  They all fall under part 15 of the FCC rules just like CFLs.  A properly operating CFL will never posses the ability to interfere with the Super Bowl game on TV, ever!  Especially with a digital television signal.  

CFLs are only made in China.  We import every one. Yeah? So? What's your point? Almost every consumer good bought in the US is made in China or elsewhere overseas. Why would you expect CFLs to be any different.

All Chinese products are dangerous.  OK, now that just offensive. What kind of type-casting racist are you? 

Congress has no energy plan except to turn on CFL lights.   Do you live under a rock? Every year we break the past year's record for the amount of solar power being installed. There is more wind power going in every day. Even off-shore wind power is beginning to find its place just off the US shores. Closed loop hydro-electricity, Nuclear, (sorry Japan, bad timing to bring that one up), Bio fuels. Congress has more types of alternate energy development being put into action now than ever before.

I do have to give Mr. Ted Poe credit for getting his last statement right. “The days of Americans developing new natural energy resources like coal and natural gas are gone”. 
And it's about time too.