Incandescent with rage

By Brian Lilley



Related Stories

There is less than six months to go until the federal government bans the incandescent light bulb, yet still many Canadians have no clue.

Twice on television over the last week I’ve spoken about the looming ban and been inundated with messages expressing surprise.

In discussion with family and friends, I’ve experienced the same thing — shock that a full ban will go into effect on Jan. 1.

Apparently many people thought this dim bulb of an idea had been put out to pasture, or that it would take away some types of bulbs but not all.


Starting on Jan. 1, 2014, the federal government will ban the sale of the kind of lighting Canadians have been using for more than 100 years.

The reason? Stopping global warming.

Sure, we haven’t had any global warming in 15 years according to Britain’s Met Office, the climate change pushing bureaucrats in charge of climate policy, but no matter.

The idea was first pushed by the Harper government and then-environment minister John Baird back in 2007. Facing immense pressure to get on board with the Kyoto Protocol and reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, Baird and company looked for an easy fix that would earn them some green street cred.

They didn’t get it.

Far from seeing the green crowd rush to them, the move was criticized as window dressing.

The Conservatives eventually pulled Canada out of Kyoto, but the light bulb ban remains.

That means, come the New Year, the old-fashioned 75-watt and 100-watt will all give way to the curly compact fluorescent light bulbs — or as I call them, the toxic twisties.

CFL bulbs contain mercury which is a toxic and harmful substance.

Ever looked at the instructions for cleaning up after a compact fluorescent breaks in your house?

Health Canada warns that you should open windows and doors to outside to let the room ventilate for at least 15 minutes prior to starting cleanup.

They also warn not to use a vacuum lest you spread the mercury vapours through the house as the vacuum blows air.

And as for a broom, don’t use it to clean up a compact fluorescent if you ever want to use the broom again.

Funny, that all seems more complex than sweeping up an old-fashioned light bulb.

Then there is the cost.

I’ve been stocking up on real light bulbs for the last little while as my wife hates the compact fluorescents, saying they give off an awful light. As I’ve been paying as little as $1.49 for four light bulbs, I couldn’t help but notice that CFLs retail for as much as $7 for one or $9.96 for three of the cheap ones.

As for the claim they last up to six years, never happens.

Before finding out about the problems with compact fluorescents, our home was filled with them. They never lasted as long as they claimed.

I have friends who swear by the new curly bulbs and won’t use anything else.

My family doesn’t like them and shouldn’t be forced into using them.

I’m still hoping the Harper government reconsiders the ban and lets Canadians decide how to light their homes.

If the government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation, then they have no business dictating what kind of mood lighting I can use.



Should the incandescent light bulb be banned?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions