August 27, 2009

100-Watt Bulbs Banned In EU

Starting September 1, 100-watt incandescent bulbs will be banned from European shops, under a new system issued by the EU.

Energy saving bulbs, such as compact florescent lights (CFL) will be required instead.

New energy saving bulbs can use up to 80 percent less energy than old-style bulbs.

The move will help the European Union cut carbon dioxide emissions as part of its climate change package.

The change was welcomed by the European Consumers' Association (BEUC), saying "consumers benefit financially from the measure, but most importantly, they will be able to contribute to improved energy efficiency."

Removing the old bulbs will hold drawbacks for consumers, the group added.

There are concerns "about the risks to health from the high mercury content of the new bulbs," the group warned.

"The benefits for both consumers and the environment are to be welcomed. However, further efforts are needed if the phasing-out of incandescent light bulbs is to run smoothly," BEUC director general Monique Goyens told AFP.

Stephen Russell of ANEC, a group which represents consumer interests, also voiced concerns over the mercury levels.

"Although the current threshold is set at 5 mg of mercury per bulb, the best available technology enables the bulb to work with only 1-2 mg," he said.

"Consumers should also have the possibility to return used bulbs to the point of sale without charge. Only in this way do we believe recycling can be made effective," he said when speaking about what should be done with the old bulbs.

Consumer groups agree that the new bulbs will make a large energy impact, and will also have a lifetime 8-15 times longer than the old models, but they don't believe shops will gain any profit from using the new bulbs because of their higher price tag.

The European Union has a time frame for phasing other old-style bulbs based on wattage.

In a year, the 75 watt bulb will be banned, and in September 1, 2012, they will be pulled from the shelves.


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