Three U.S. representatives have introduced H.R. 6144, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act. The bill would repeal the controversial incandescent light bulb ban that has already killed American jobs in favor of Chinese jobs. Incandescent bulbs were manufactured in the U.S. until recently; CFL bulbs are manufactured entirely in Asia.
The BULB Act repeals Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is a de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb that has its origins in Thomas Alva Edison's laboratory.
•Most CFLs are not manufactured in the United States. A recent Washington Post story reported that GE is shuttering a plant in Winchester, Va., killing 200 jobs in the process.
•CFLs contain mercury and have to be disposed of carefully. The amount of mercury in one bulb is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. The EPA recommends an elaborate cleanup ritual, including throwing away any clothes or bedding that has come in direct contact with the mercury from the bulb.
•CFLs are not designed to be turned off and on frequently; the lifespan of a CFL may be reduced by up to 85 percent if you switch it off and on a lot.
•CFLs can raise your heating bills. They're not great for interior use in a cold climate, because they produce less heat than incandescent bulbs. So you save on electricity, but have to pay more in heating costs.
•People with certain health conditions can be harmed by CFLs. Reactions range from disabling eczema-like reactions, to light sensitivities that can lead to skin cancer.
•The Energy Star program warns that CFLs can overheat and smoke.