Saturday, December 21, 2013

America's Not So Bright Future ... J. D. Longstreet

America's Not So Bright Future
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet


Back in 2012, the government took our 100 watt light bulbs and left us with these awful, pathetic, sickly, fluorescent bulbs. (The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act) These ugly, squiggly, things are called "Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs." In my opinion, the "light bulb" portion of the name is a fraud.

Now that they have taken our 100 watt and 75 watt bulbs, they will relieve us of our 60 watt and 40 watt bulbs effective in 2014.  (Stores will be allowed to sell their inventory of the 60 and 40 watt bulbs but after that -- there will be no more.)

Why does this upset me? WHY, indeed?!

I’ll point you in the direction of some evidence that the fluorescent bulbs may not be as helpful and energy efficient as claimed and might even damage American’s health and contribute to pollution of the earth. You decide, for yourself, if you really want to put them in your home, where you and your children will be exposed to them, or if you want to raise hell with the Congress until they repeal this ridiculous law and give us back our tried and true incandescent light bulbs. 

Did you know it required a special exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency of the US government to allow fluorescent lamp bulbs to be sold to the pubic in the US in the first place? Why? Mercury, that’s why!

“Fluorescent lights are filled with a gas containing low-pressure mercury vapor and argon, or sometimes even krypton. The inner surface of the bulb is coated with a fluorescent coating made of varying blends of metallic and rare earth phosphor salts. Fluorescent light bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs of an equivalent brightness, and the efficiency of fluorescent lighting owes much to low-pressure mercury photon discharges. But fluorescents don't produce a steady light, and they burn out more quickly when cycled frequently; they also contain items such as fluorine, neon, and lead powder as well as mercury.” (From: “Compact fluorescent light bulbs contaminate the environment with 30,000 pounds of mercury each year” at: . (This article was written by Mike Adams a natural health researcher and author with a strong interest in personal health, the environment and the power of nature to help us all heal He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, impacting the lives of millions of readers around the world who are experiencing phenomenal health benefits from reading his articles. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company.)

Also from the same article we learn this:

“According to, each year an estimated 600 million fluorescent lamps are disposed of in U.S. landfills, amounting to 30,000 pounds of mercury waste. Astonishingly, that's almost half the amount of mercury emitted into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants each year. It only takes 4mg of mercury to contaminate up to 7,000 gallons of freshwater, meaning that the 30,000 pounds of mercury thrown away in compact fluorescent light bulbs each year is enough to pollute nearly every lake, pond, river and stream in North America (not to mention the oceans.")

Then, there is this. The CFL bulb “…. can cause people with epilepsy to experience symptoms similar to the early stages of a fit. There have also been complaints of discomfort from people with lupus”\." Read more about this in The Daily Mail at:

Now… what if you accidentally drop and break one of the CFL’s? Well, you could be looking at a $2000.00 plus “professional clean-up job”. I mean… they do contain Mercury, remember? Don’t believe me? Check this story out: The CFL mercury nightmare [break a compact fluorescent, face $2000 in cleanup costs] at:

Add to this the fact, and I do mean fact… that there certainly appears to be less light output (lumens) from the CFL than from an incandescent bulb.

Now… all the research I have done tells me that the CFL’s produce the same lumens as a comparable incandescent bulb. But, in practice, I have found that replacing a 60 watt incandescent with a 60 watt CFL will not produce the same amount of lighting. The area I am trying to light is dimmer, not lighted nearly as well, with the CFL as it was with the incandescent. I have found the same true with 75-watt bulbs and 100-watt bulbs. I have even swapped the 60’s out for 75’s and the 75’s out for 100 watt CFL's and I STILL don’t see the crisp brightness I get from the old incandescent bulb.

These days, I am using 150 watt CFL.s to replace the old 100 watt incandescent bulbs around my home.  And I am STILL not satisfied with the light from the CFL. In fact, I have taken to carrying a penlight flashlight in my pocket, all the time now, in order to see into many of the dark spaces that were not dark before the CFL's.  (I suffer from "nearsightedness" and those of us with that curse require LIGHT to be able to see clearly.) 

Now, I am not an engineer. I’m just an old country boy, who has been around the block a few times, and experience tells me there HAS to be something different about the lumens emitted by an incandescent and the lumens emitted by a CFL. Is it a different KIND of light -- a different COLOR of light? Is that what the matter is?

OK... so I did a bit more research and this is what I found:

A 100-watt incandescent light bulb will produce about 1200 lumens. I read that a 20 t0 25 watt CFL will produce the same amount of lumens... but… if the light fixture you are using isn’t DESIGNED for CFL's you will get a "dingy looking" light. Not nearly as bright as the old incandescent bulb! It seems someone forgot to inform us that CFL's radiate their light differently. What that means is... that even though the CFL is producing the same amount of lumens, it may not be producing the same amount of light to the lighted area! AHA! I knew it! Read more on this at:

So besides the fact that CFL's don’t work well in cold climates… or just plain old cold weather, they don’t work well, at all, in overhead fixtures, they don’t work, at all, with dimmers, they contain poison, they do not produce the same amount of light as the incandescent light bulbs… in today's light fixtures, and ...they must be treated as hazardous waste material when you get ready to toss one out, … why… they’re just GREAT!

Why do I get the feeling I’ve been scammed… yet again?

As I write, I am in my office, and I have five different light fixtures on right now. I have CFL's in all five of them and, frankly, it is as through I am sitting here, in front of this computer, working by the light of a number of oil lamps situated around the room! The light is that bad! If I drop something on the floor, I have to get up and turn on the overhead lights, which have four four-foot long fluorescent bulbs in them, so I can find the dropped item on the floor.  If the dropped item happens to have rolled beneath my desk, out comes the trusty penlight pocket flashlight in order to find it in the shadows.
This is madness! I’m at the point, with the CFL bulbs, that I would happily see the oceans boil and keep my incandescent bulbs!

I have nearly depleted my horde of 100 watt incandescent bulbs.  In fact, my last inventory I had only two bulbs left.  I've been supplementing them with 90 watt bulbs I was able to find at one of the big box stores.  They, too, will be gone soon.

I was thinking recently how the CFL bulb so accurately represents an America in decline.  We've lost our "brightness", and have become the "dim lights" of the world as a result of our public eduction system that often ranks beneath that of third world countries.  "Smart" people, "bright" people, would not have allowed their government to do this to them.   But WE did.   

I also wonder if a contributing factor to the lost luster of the once "Shining City On A Hill" is the possibility that we have changed all the light bulbs in the city to Compact Fluorescent Bulbs!  

J. D. Longstreet
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