CFLs andLEDs in the media
Five years of advanced satellite images show that there is more artificial light at night across the globe, and that light at night is getting brighter. The rate of growth is approximately two percent each year in both the amount of areas lit and the radiance of the light. (...) The team, led by Dr. Christopher Kyba of the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany, analyzed five years of images from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership [Suomi-NPP] satellite, operated jointly by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]. (...) Increases were seen almost everywhere the team looked, with some of the largest gains in regions that were previously unlit. (...) Kyba's team found that the energy saving effects of LED lighting on country-level energy budgets are lower than expected from the increase in the efficiency of LEDs compared to older lamps. (...) The VIIRS instrument used in this study is relatively insensitive to blue light. White LED light is rich in blue colors, and so partially escapes detection by VIIRS. That can lead to an underestimation of the problem of light pollution.
16 September 2017: When conventional halogen lights are replaced with LED lights, the transformer can become a cause of radio interference, especially regarding the DAB radios. On tech.ebu.ch (Switzerland) it is said that the problem is normally resolved by replacing the transformer with a correctly rated one. But what when your car digital radio is interfered by LEDs in the street?
In Germany, it seems the situation is more dramatic because of the inadequate implementation of the EU Directive (2014/30/EU) relating to the Electromagnetic Compatibility of Equipment. The reason to not fully implement the Directive was that radio can also be heard over the internet. Consequence: cheap goods from China are imported without interference suppression.
A clear example of interference is shown in the first video on the German webpage Warum der Radioempfang im Dunkeln oft besser ist. The next video is English spoken and gives very interesting facts about the situation in Geneva.
18 August 2017: Two-minute explainer: (In)visible random flicker
18 August 2017: US lawmakers continue to fight light ban "Last month the House passed an amendment proposed by Representative Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas, to prevent the US Energy Department from enforcing efficiency rules that were introduced with support from both sides of the house under the George W Bush administration 10 years ago. Burgess, who has opposed the bulb ban for years, said Congress "should fight to preserve the free market" and that the regulations will "take away consumer choice when constituents are deciding which light bulbs they will use in their homes"." More information on the webpage of Lux review.
July 2016: Athena (Belgian monthly magazine (French language)) "Attention aux LED!" [Attention to LED!] "In general, white light of a LED results from a blue LED associated with a yellow luminophore. Despite this trick, the blue content remains always proportionally higher than in daylight, especially at sunrise and sunset is. And some experts doubt about the sustainability of the luminophore, which could be less than that of the diode, what thus further could increase the share of light emitted in blue. The physiological effects of blue light that stimulates retinal photo-pigments (melanopsin molecules) leads to synchronizing biological and chronological clocks. If, during daytime, blue light has beneficial effects on biorhythms, however nighttime artificial light has short-term negative effects (sleep disturbances and daytime alertness) and long term effects (mood disorders, carcinogens, cardiovascular, etc.). Mediated by melanopsin, these effects will thus be stimulated by a lighting with a superabundance of blue light. This finding raises the question of the impact on the biological clock by our PCs, tablets, e-book, smartphones, etc."
14 June 2016 "ledsmagazine.com" Blue LED energy shortens shelf life of milk, according to Cornell researchers "Refrigerator grocery case lighting was one of the first lighting applications in which the solid-state lighting (SSL) alternative to fluorescent tubes gained a foothold. (...) LEDs offer reliable operation in the cold environment, do not generate heat that would increase refrigeration electrical costs, and provide directional light to better focus on the merchandise. (...) But the latest research may change things, at least in dairy cases. The research is summarized on the Cornell Chronicle website through which the university distributes research news to the media. The researchers stated that it has been well understood that exposure to sun and artificial light could degrade "milk sensory quality and nutritional content." Apparently riboflavin and other elements in milk are photosensitive and riboflavin absorbs light in a narrow band that is in the same range as the typical blue peak of LEDs in the 460-nm range.
The impact of the LED lighting doesn't spoil the milk but simply degrades the quality. The researchers had test subjects taste milk that had been under LED lights for as little as four hours and compare the taste to milk that has been stored for two weeks but shielded from LED exposure. The testers overwhelmingly preferred the older milk over the LED-exposed milk. The milk exposed to LED lighting was said to taste of "cardboard or plastic." (...) Researchers said the LED lighting even impacts milk in opaque plastic packages.
10 June 2016: "advances.sciencemag.org" The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness
An interesting reference in this article is "Christian B. Luginbuhl e.a., Lighting and astronomy. "
And some excerpts from 'The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness':
3 June 2016: Het Laatste Nieuws (Belgian newspaper) "Te veel ledlicht zorgt voor slaapproblemen" [Too much LED light causes sleep problems] The Superior Health Council of Belgium published this report . It aims at providing Public Health authorities, manufacturers and general population with specific recommendations on specific target groups (youth under 8 years; people with some eye and skin pathology), general prevention, scientific research and legislation aspects to control the Belgian market.
"Following the recommendations of the ANSES and the Dutch Health Council, the Superior Health Council recommends:
To the attention of the industry
To the attention of the government
According to Dr. Jacques Vanderstraeten of the SHC, an excessive exposure to LED light can damage the retina and cause sleep problems. These risks are in the early morning and evening greatest: "The light spectrum that emits LED lighting has a higher proportion of 'blue light' than natural sunlight. During the morning and evening the difference is greatest, so the effects of LEDs at those times are the strongest". Especially the elderly and young children should be cautious, according to doctor Vanderstraeten, with LED lighting, because their retina is more sensitive.
16 February 2016: "news.nationalgeographic.com" An Unloved Light Bulb Shows Signs of Burning Out "Introduced in the mid-1980s, CFLs progressively got cheaper and more efficient, using 75 percent less energy than a regular incandescent bulb. But they never quite overcame the problems that made them unlovable: They needed time to light up fully, the light often felt harsh, and the glass tubes contained toxic mercury, prompting an unsettling cleanup checklist for any poor soul who happens to shatter one."
Here, you can also answer the question: "Have you adjusted to life without traditional incandescent bulbs?" On 18 February 2016, the result of the poll was (total of 8226 votes):
12 January 2016: "www.theguardian.com" A lightbulb moment for the old-fashioned filament "Light is an emotional and emotive matter," says the design critic Stephen Bayley. "I like it that [Henry David] Thoreau said candles illuminate darkness, but artificial light destroys it. Our affection for outlawed incandescent Edison bulbs is surely based on some lingering sense that the warm glow from a hot filament is closer to primitive candles than the chilly hiss and fizz of alien electrons."
11 January 2016: www.independent.co.uk Old-fashioned light bulbs could be set for comeback after 'light recycling' breakthrough "A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised a way of capturing the infrared heat released when the tungsten filament of an incandescent bulb is heated to about 2,700C, and converting this waste energy into visible light. (...) The scientists have called the technology "light recycling" because it takes the useless wavelengths of infrared light, which no-body can see, and converts them to visible light. (...) In order for the device to work, the scientists had to redesign the traditional incandescent filament of the old light bulb. "In a regular light bulb, the filament is a long and curly piece of tungsten wire. Here, the filament is laser-machined out of a flat sheet of tungsten: it is completely planar," said Peter Bermel, a member of the MIT team."
11 January 2016: "www.nature.com" Tailoring high-temperature radiation and the resurrection of the incandescent source "In incandescent light bulbs, most of the energy is lost as heat. (...) Here, we show that a plain incandescent tungsten filament (3,000 K) surrounded by a cold-side nanophotonic interference system optimized to reflect infrared light and transmit visible light for a wide range of angles could become a light source that reaches luminous efficiencies (˜ 40%) surpassing existing lighting technologies, and nearing a limit for lighting applications. We experimentally demonstrate a proof-of-principle incandescent emitter with efficiency approaching that of commercial fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs, but with exceptional reproduction of colours and scalable power."
9 January 2016: "www.elsevier.nl" Consument heeft lak aan het gloeilampendictaat [Consumer does not care about the light bulbs dictation] "The consumer did accept this pushing less than imagined in the headquarters in Brussels and Eindhoven. So retailers until this day do find hassle gaps in the law, parallel trade is rampant, everywhere incandescent bulbs are for sale and our homes are full of them. Clearly, we don’t let us fool on a large scale. There is still civil disobedience if the pedantic arbitrariness from headquarters of Europe is too flashy. (...) The incandescent ban came at the insistence of an industry which, as now appears however, has no benefit from the self-invented incandescent lamp ban and from the pushing on of CFLs and LED lamps, with the help of the authorities. Siemens has already placed the lamp sector at some distance. Philips will disclose in the coming months, how to reject the light division, at least what's left of it: by selling it or by bringing it as an autonomous company to the stock exchange."
17 December 2015: www.coolproducts.eu Beyond VW - other firms deceiving their customers "Manufacturers and importers are responsible for declaring the energy efficiency of their TVs, fridges and other products regulated by the EU Ecodesign Directive and Energy Labelling Directive, while authorities are responsible for testing those claims. Authorities are entitled to apply a margin for error, or 'tolerance', to allow for variations in the accuracy of their lab tests. Tolerances vary by product, but are typically around 10% in Europe.
Coolproducts has spoken to a whistleblower in the lighting industry who says his firm started out honest, but was forced to 'cheat to compete'. The senior executive with over 20 years experience in the industry said:
"Tolerances are out of date. The legislation needs to catch up with advances in production and testing. This particular game has been played for a long time. Today, 2-3 percent tolerances are far more realistic.
We have no choice but to cheat and that's not right. It's not cheating exactly, but being economical with the truth. Firms want to build products more cheaply so install lower grade components knowing that the tolerances can absorb the loss of performance. They are also exaggerating product lifetimes. The situation is getting worse now with fragmentation of the market bringing more pressure. Market surveillance is Europe is very bad, but getting better."
According to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard (17 December 2015) "Lampen geven te weinig licht" [Lamps emit too little light] the Swedish consumer association magazine Råd & Rön revealed that the intensity of light emitted by halogen light bulbs of big brand names was overstated by as much as 25 %.
11 August 2015 in the Belgian newspaper "Le Soir" "Le LED fait l'ombre aux autres lumières" [The LEDs overshadow the other lamps] Starting 1 September, Ikea will only sell LEDs. Ikea has 315 department stores in 27 countries. "We want to encourage our customers to take advantage of the energy and money savings and reduce CO2 emissions." (...) Specifically, the company has gradually emptied its stocks of compact fluorescent lamps and incandescents (halogen), leaving on the shelves only LEDs with a range of luminaires but also a wide enough assortment of bulbs to suit all ceiling lights, wall lights and other existing desk lamps. (...) But all is not lovely in the garden of LED. "Although the new generation no longer gives the effect of "white tiles in a butcher's", this source of light is still struggling to get closer to the color temperature of natural light", says Pasquale Nardonne, professor of physics at the Free University of Brussels. Also remains this demerit: Surely, the LED is more environmentally friendly to use. But to know the real environmental impact, we must also take into account its conditions of production. Purifying silicon, which makes the heart beat of these diodes is a very energy intensive industrial work ..."
15 May 2015 in "www.huffingtonpost.com": 12 Hacks For The Best Sleep Ever. " Jennifer Adams, a sleep environmentalist, designer, entrepreneur and author of the book "Bedrooms That Inspire: Rest, Relaxation & Romance" has the following advice:"We’re all replacing the light bulbs in our homes with LED bulbs because they are more energy efficient and they put out a beautiful quality of light, but the challenge is that they mimic daylight," Adams told The Huffington Post. "So if you add the LED bulbs to your lamps in your bedroom, it can make it harder to fall asleep. I recommend that everyone keep their bedrooms, especially the bedside lamps, with just a regular, old-fashioned halogen or incandescent light bulb with that soft, warm light. I also like the ones you can dim easily."
23 November 2014 in "www.theguardian.com": Finnish teenagers with sleeping disorders double in last 20 years. "Around 20% of teenage girls and 10% of teenage boys in Finland now suffer from chronic fatigue, according to findings from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare. Researchers studied more than a million teenagers between the ages of 13-17 and found levels of insomnia at a record high. (...) The results are a concern for the Finnish authorities as studies suggest that prolonged sleeplessness can lead to depression, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases in later life. (...) More research into the causes was needed, said Kronholm, who has been studying sleep patterns for 30 years, "but based on previous literature, I suspect that energy drinks have an undeniable impact." He also pointed to "the 'screen time' hypothesis". Studies show that exposure to bright light from the screens of iPads, tablets, computers and mobile phones can halt the natural production of melatonin and prevent sleep." [Also blue light from LEDs, substituting the incandescent light bulbs, may be a cause.]
31 October 2014 in the Belgian newspaper "Het Laatste Nieuws", my comment: "In yesterday's newspaper, we see how Minister Turtelboom helps replacing incandescent bulbs by CFLs in a house in Ostend. The question is whether she would prove a service to the residents with her action. While CFLs consume less power than incandescent bulbs, these lamps have numerous drawbacks, such as a longer warm-up time, reduced brightness over time, do not show a true representation of colors, contain a little mercury what means that these lamps may not be used in families with children, are difficult to dim or cannot be dimmed at all, are sooner broken down by frequent switching on and off, etc. But the worst of all is that studies show that the light of certain energy saving lamps contain UV radiation, which can be dangerous to the skin and eyes. Because CFLs need mercury and rare earth metals, they also cause great pollution to the air and soil. Therefore, it is totally unwise for a minister to press CFLs to the residents of this house. Rik Gheysens"
www.nzherald.co.nz 5 August 2014: Student eye checks after shock tests A global charity will test children's eyes in 16 low-income parts of New Zealand after an initial test found that 63 per cent of children at a West Auckland primary school needed full eye examinations. (...) But a community programme at Reporoa and Broadlands, south of Rotorua, has also found a surprisingly high 30 per cent of year 4 children needing corrective lenses - mostly for Irlen Syndrome, a little-known condition caused by sensitivity to light.
Reporoa pharmacist and dairy farmer Karen Barker, who set up a charitable trust to do Irlens tests in local schools after her own children were diagnosed with the condition, said 42 per cent of the 30 per cent who needed glasses needed Irlens tints only, 36 per cent had both Irlens and optometric problems, 12 per cent had only optometric problems and 9 per cent had other issues. She said Irlens problems may have become widespread only recently due to fluorescent lighting, computer screens and whiteboards.
Yahoo News 29 July 2014: Osram to cut almost 8,000 jobs in switch to LED A new savings program is announced by Osram that will include almost 8,000 jobs, or around 23 percent of its staff! 1,700 would be in Germany and 6,100 internationally. This is the second program of jobs cut by the company. The first one was called "Push" and this program runs out at the end of this year. It involved cutting 8,700 jobs or 21 percent of its workforce and closing a quarter its 43 factories.
www.bild.de 31 July 2014: Hat das Glühbirnen-Verbot der EU Schuld? [Is the EU to blame?] What's the reason of these jobs cuts? "Professor Jörg Funder, trade expert and professor at the University of Applied Sciences, stated that the problems of the Group are related to the EU legislation: "Through the EU regulation, the traditional large scale light bulb business of Osram is broken away. There, Osram was a leader." The problem was obviously that the company's losses could not be tempered by the energy-saving lamps. For one thing, the buyers were cautious, the light was too cold, too bright, on the other hand, there were suddenly more competitors who could respond. Third is the fact that the buying cycles are greater for energy-saving lamps, so the profit margins turn ultimately lower.
An analyst for a private bank, just watching the developments in the Group, mentions another reason for the decline in sales: "The demand for LED lamps has increased. This is also related to the ban of conventional light bulbs. In this area there is much low-cost competition from Asia. With the production of LED lamps Osram makes great losses." CEO Wolfgang Dehen confirmed this: However, the production of new LED lights is not yet profitable. Here Osram plans to reach breakeven in 2015."
hd.welt.de 31 July 2014: Der Wandel in der Lichttechnik hat Osram überrascht [The change in lighting technology has surprised Osram] "Currently Osram has 33,900 employees, including 9,500 in Germany. Wolfgang Dehen makes it clear that even the recent job cuts are not yet the end of the cuts. According to the Osram-Chief, the rapid slump in business is the consequence of the falling price of LED products. That's why an increasing number of consumers would switch to LED lamps. The switch is faster than expected by Osram, Dehen admits. Here we already see the next market upheaval and thus new burdens for Osram. Dehen pointed out that at the EU level, in the context of the earlier conventional light bulb ban, also since long a ban on certain halogen light bulbs is being discussed, i.e. a ban from 2017. "We do not know how the policy will decide." Therefore, Osram initially has factored in a ban of halogen lamps."
Lux Magazine 20 June 2014: Minister rejects call for bulb ban exemption
Energy minister Greg Barker has rejected a call for the UK to be exempted from the European Union’s ban on incandescent lamps. In the House of Commons yesterday, Conservative MP David Nuttall said that the UK should push for a ‘complete exemption’ from the rules that have phased out incandescent lamps, as part of a renegotiation of its membership of the EU.
Nuttall said the UK should be given back 'the right to be able to use whatever light bulbs we want – without being told what to do by the EU'. But Barker defended the ban, saying: 'By having energy-efficient light bulbs, we are driving innovation and driving down people’s electricity bills. We do not want to go back to having high-cost energy bills and turning our back on innovation.' Labour MP Sheila Gilmore also asked whether people with 'photosensitive health conditions' might be allowed to continue to use incandescent lamps.
Barker said: 'The UK is sympathetic to concerns raised about the potential health impacts of lighting... and will press the European Commission to take this into account in the upcoming review.' Also: Energy minister rejects call for bulb ban exemption.
12 May 2014: www.daily.mail.co.uk The medical experts who refuse to use low-energy lightbulbs in their homes: Professors have stocked up on old-style bulbs to protect against skin cancer and blindness. So should YOU be worried?
"Sustained exposure to ultraviolet light wavelengths from CFLs increases the risk of two seriously debilitating eye conditions, macular degeneration and cataracts, the professor claims. With macular degeneration, the macula, which is at the centre of the retina, becomes damaged with age. A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. These are two of the leading causes of blindness in Britain.
Meanwhile, an EU spokesperson told the Mail that 'based on scientific evidence, an EU scientific committee in 2008 and the UK's Health Protection Agency came to the conclusion that in normal use compact fluorescent lamps do not pose risks to the general public'. However, Professor Moseley is not convinced. He says that what's needed is better legislation from the EU on the quality and safety of low-energy lighting. 'But they are very reluctant,' he says. 'Their feeling is that it is the sufferers' problem. In Brussels, the carbon emission targets take precedence.'"
22 April 2014: www.daily.mail.co.uk Coming to a street near you - the lights that keep you awake and could make people ill...
"Studies have indicated that LED lights disrupt sleep by suppressing the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone which governs our sleep patterns. All light consists of different colour combinations, and visible light falls on a rainbow-like spectrum, which extends from red to blue. Natural light combines all the colours of the spectrum, but the light given off by LEDs is overwhelmingly blue. Too much ‘blue light’ suppresses our biological clock, resulting in lower-quality sleep. This in turn increases the likelihood of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It damages the immune system and leaves sufferers vulnerable to depression and anxiety. It has even been suggested that too much exposure to LED light causes blindness. Last year, a Spanish study suggested that the light emitted by LED bulbs can damage cells in the retina. By way of illustrating just how potent their glare can be, consider that LED lights are generally banned in art galleries because they bleach the paint on works on display. ‘They are dangerous and potentially damaging,’ says Simon Nicholas, a 53-year-old chartered engineer who successfully campaigned to stop LED lights being erected in Trafford until further research is done."
New alarming results: The great LED lightbulb rip-off: One in four expensive 'long-life' bulbs doesn't last anything like as long as the makers claim, Daily Mail, 26 January 2014
According to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1194/2012 of 12 December 2012, from 1 March 2014 on, 90% of any batch of LED bulbs should last at least 6,000 hours. But five types from the 46 tested types stopped working before 6,000 hours!
Night work is becoming increasingly common in our 24-hour economy. But people who spend long periods working shifts have a higher risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity or depression. ‘It is therefore important to work out exactly what is causing these risks’, says Van de Werken.
Artificial lighting is a factor known to affect the way our body reacts to working at night. ‘The blue component in white light keeps people awake better than yellow light’, explains Van de Werken. For her study, she asked test subjects to stay awake for one night in yellow, white or half-light.
‘We saw that white light strongly suppresses the hormone melatonin.’
More information can also be found on the website of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. The title of her thesis is 'Dawn, light at night and the clock. Impact on human alertness, performance and physiology'.
20 November 2013: Flemish television, Eén, "Also tested on humans: Sleep and light".
To become acquainted with the melatonin production, the melatonin was measured from members of a family during a week at home (using laptops, ipads, gsm, etc.) and during a week in the countryside (without the modern gadgets, even without a watch). The result was that the melatonin production began earlier and at a higher level in the countryside. The reasons for this are explained in this video.
Smartphones give remarkably much light at evening.
I will place this in historical perspective. In the beginning it was dark at night. At a certain time, there was the candle! With this invention, one could remain active during the night.
In 1879, the incandescent light bulb appears, thanks to Thomas Edison.
1953: entry of the catode ray tube (television), followed by the colour television.
Twenty years later, the personal computer begins to enter in our houses. Since then, much other light giving objects enter our rooms: laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.
Last years, also the LED lighting is coming in our houses. This rectangular form contains also LEDs and gives bluish cold light. All the new screens (smartphones, ...) are giving mostly blue light.
Filip Van den Abeele: "Scientific research has shown that our brains are very sensitive to blue light. The light comes in through our eyes. Our retina contains receptors that receive light, which also regulate our biological clock. These receptors are very sensitive to blue light which will somehow disturb our sleep patterns. It has been shown that blue light will slow the production of melatonin. We are constantly surrounded by screens, by light, by bluish light. The more we are exposed to the blue light, the more the production of the sleep hormone (melatonin) is delayed."
My report in reply to the Ecodesign Consultation Forum to be held in Brussels (25 November 2013) where probably a postponement of the ban on halogen lamps will be discussed.
It is unfortunate that not was singled out in the program that the incandescent and halogen bulbs emit predominantly red light that is much less harmful to humans. It was also not mentioned that a lack of melatonin may result in serious diseases. So it was totally wrong from the European Commission to ban incandescent and soon also halogen lamps.
July 10, 2013: The German website www.focus.de has this article "Bulb glitch: Peer Steinbrück does what Sigmar Gabriel does not want" (Glühbirnen-Panne: Peer Steinbrück tut, was Sigmar Gabriel nicht will)
Recently the known SPD chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück admitted to hoard hundreds of light bulbs because of the EU ban. (...) But the idea to ban the incandescents came precisely from the SPD party leader Sigmar Gabriel!
Steinbrück had recently announced that he was not an advocate of the excessive over-regulations of the EU and that he was hoarding around 100 bulbs in the basement in response to the EU ban "because I do not know if I still can get these bulbs within five years for my French lampholders."
"Bild"-newspaper on Wednesday reported that the controversial idea of the European light bulb ban was not born in Brussels. Instead, it was a proposal of Gabriel! According to the report, in February 2007 Gabriel, as Federal Environment Minister, had required in a letter to the then EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas the light bulb ban. In this letter Gabriel had declared himself in favour of "ambitious efficiency criteria for lamps": "Europe cannot really afford any more products like conventional light bulbs which have an efficiency rate of only five percent."
That Steinbrück was stockpiling the bulbs, Gabriel cannot appreciate: He has discouraged strongly the consumers in May 2009 to stockpile bulbs. "Hoarding of old light bulbs not only damage the environment but also their own household budget," according to a press release of Gabriel at that time.
My remark: It is an excellent time to emphasize in Germany the unequalled quality of incandescent light bulbs. This quality has a price. On the contrary CFLs and LEDS are damaging the environment on a large scale. Stockpiling the incandescent light bulbs is the best solution when the best performing lamps are taken out of the market.
April 15, 2013: This article from one of the many light sensitive persons in the UK was published in Chronicle (Newcastle Upon Tyne).
April 3, 2013: Die Welt."Schande" - Wut der Tschechen auf die EU-Fahne ("Shame" - Fury of the Czechs about the EU flag)
Since Wednesday 3 April, the venerable Prague Castle has a new flag. Almost ten years after the year the Czech Republic joined the EU, the EU flag is blowing alongside the Czech national flag. The historical moment was accompanied by whistles and boos by a few dozen demonstrators who watched the action from a few hundred meters away.
The new Czech President Milos Zeman had invited EU Commission President Jose Barroso for the solemn act. Today, no European state alone can defend its interests, the EU Commission president said. The hoisting of the flag of Europe at the Prague Castle is a symbol for the common interests of the Czech Republic and the EU.
Zeman told, moreover, that his affection for Europe also have limits. So he made it clear to Barroso that Europe should stay out of certain things. In particular, he cited the decision to abolish the old incandescent bulbs, "I know what I'm talking. I recently screwed one of the new EU-compliant bulbs in my cottage. Since then, the room looks like a morgue."
January 8, 2013: In France, since January 1, the incandescent light bulbs have disappeared from the shelves with the exception of the 15 and 25W bulbs. As a substitute, CFLs are available. With these lamps, the manufacturers are promising the consumers thousands of hours of additional use in order to justify a much higher price. But this is not always the case, as has been proven by the French consumers' organization "UFC Que Choisir". In 2012, the organization of consumers has scrutinized 29 CFLs. Only one third of them reached the promised number of 5000 hours! (Source: News bulletin from January 8, 2013 at 13 hours, on the television channel France 2)
My remark: It is very important to stress that CFLs and LEDs produce a different type of light in comparison with incandescent light. So, they cannot be called 'substitute products'! A ban of incandescent light bulbs has led to a very reduced choice of light products.
January 4, 2013: The Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, February 15, 2011: It was found that over a period of more than one hundred years many original yellow colors on Vincent van Gogh's paintings slowly became brown. An international team of scientists suspected that the discoloration could be caused by the chrome that the painter used in his paint. On January 4, 2013, De Volkskrant reported the reason of this discoloration, referring to the doctorate of Letizia Monico at the universities of Antwerp and Perugia. 'Our research shows that middle chrome yellow, which is a yellow hue with warm glow and is most often used, is chemically fairly stable.'
Van Gogh also uses the lighter lemon yellow and even pale primrose yellow. 'They react very intensely to light beams. During our tests, after only a few days, they colour to brown and olive green. These unstable forms of chrome yellow paint we found among others in some very famous paintings, such as the Portrait of Gauguin and Vase with sunflowers.'
Also other painters used both the stable and unstable forms of chrome yellow paint such as Paul Cézanne and according to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard of 4 January 2013, also Rik Wouters.
Because the lemon and primrose yellow extra sensitive to blue and green, it is risky to illuminate those artworks with LEDs because they emit a high proportion of blue light. LEDs can damage the paintings of great masters!
Belgian newspaper "De Standaard", October 1, 2012: One of the major specialists in the field of recycling of fluorescent lamps is the Belgian waste management company Indaver. In the coming years, this company will be more and more the starting point for the recycling of CFLs, explains spokesman Jos Artois. Until recent years, the mercury-containing powder from fluorescent lamps and energy saving lamps was simply deposited in a landfill. "But since some years we do it no longer. Everything is now stored. Awaiting starting up installations where such substances can be recycled."
One of the leaders in research in the field is the French chemical company Rhodia. The growing interest of Rhodia for the powder in the lamps is explained by the price of rare earth metals. Rhodia, taken over last year by Solvay, invested in its French offices in Saint-Fons (in the Rhone Valley) and La Rochelle (on the Atlantic coast) EUR 15 million in recycling plants. In Saint-Fons, the emphasis lies on the separation of the rare earth metals from the glass remnants. La Rochelle is responsible for the purification of the substances. In this way, fluorescent lamps and CFLs are now completely recycled. But the question remains: How long has mercury been released in the environment before the beginning of the storage of the mercury containing powder.
Le Soir, 30 augustus 2012: Extinction totale des feux pour les vieilles ampoules (Total extinction for old bulbs)
The Directive RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment) generally forbids mercury in electronic and electronical equipment but made an exemption for mercury in compact fluorescent lamps not exceeding 5 mg per lamp. In 2012, the mercury content is lowered to 3.5 mg and in 2013, it will be 2.5 mg. Meanwhile, the limit of 3.5 mg is exceeded by some manufacturers of CFLs with a 'fast start'. The case has been made a subject of an investigation campaign from the Administration of Environment. "The results of the inspections will only be known in October", has been said.
In May 2012, 'Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats' (see below) concluded that a double envelope CFL (from a certain brand name) with the function 'fast start' started as slow as the other lamps in the test without this function.
Website Test-Aankoop, May 24 2012: CFLs (in the lab en in the waste collect centers): not always saving and environmentally friendly
In the June issue of the periodical "Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats", 13 double shell compact fluorescent lamps with a brightness between 500 and 700 lumen and with an E-27 fitting were investigated. Some conclusions are:
The Belgian newspaper "De Morgen", May 25, 2012: "CFLs are not always environmentally friendly"
In the June issue of the periodical "Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats", 13 [double envelope] CFLs were investigated. The results are:
Another Belgian newspaper "De Standaard", May 25, 2012, writes: "The CFL is almost dead"
" CFLs are less efficient and ecological than their manufacturer tries to make you believe. And he seems to lose his faith itself." Ivo Mechels of Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats: "CFLs are more sparing and last longer than conventional incandescent bulbs. But they still have teething problems and that would not be allowed. This is no new technology anymore, so manufacturers can no longer hide behind it."
According to Stefaan Forment, researcher of the Laboratory of Lighting Technology of Ghent's Catholic College St Lieven, manufacturers seem to believe much more in LED lamps.
Svenska Dagbladet, November 21, 2011: Kvicksilvret i lampor går rätt ut naturen (The mercury of the lamps is leaking out in our land)
CFLs with mercury was presented as an environmental benefit. But there are large gaps in recycling. Svenska Dagbladet can now tell you that each year 200,000 CFLs are wrongly thrown in the bottle bank. From there they spread further toxins into our country.
Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek has expressed concern and disappointment that the recycling of CFLs has not been properly addressed. She is considering reviewing legislation: “If necessary we will also look at producer responsibility for electrical waste, I am fully prepared to strengthen the legislation. We will review the issue with the environment ministry experts.” (savethebulb.org)
17 March 2010: pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com. The Unholy Alliance between Philips and the Greens - A Guest Weblog by Joost van Kasteren and Henk Tennekes "Philips started lobbying to phase out the very product on which its original success is based [i.e., the incandescent bulb]. They started this campaign around the turn of the century, ten years ago. Their line of thought is clear: banning incandescent bulbs creates an interesting market for new kinds of home lighting, such as "energy savers" (CFL's, compact fluorescent lamps) and LED's (light emitting diodes). The mark-up on these new products is substantially higher than that on old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. (...) Is it fair to judge light bulbs on the efficiency with which they convert watts into lumens? The combined lobby from Big Business and Big Environment has attempted to convince us that old-fashioned bulbs waste a lot of energy. (...) There is yet another problem: the quality of the light produced by CFL's and LED's. Their light is unnatural; it is unsuitable for an atmosphere of coziness in living rooms, not to mention bedrooms. (...) In 2006, Dutch legislators caved in under the combined lobbying pressure by Philips and Greenpeace. A parliamentary majority in The Hague embraced the idea of banning incandescent bulbs and ordered the Dutch Environment Minister, Jacqueline Cramer, to lobby for an extension of the ban to all states in the European Union."
Last updated on 12 December 2017