Incandescent Plant Closes – Jobs sent to China

GE Closes Last Incandescent Light Bulb Plant, Jobs Sent to China

Written By: Kenneth Artz

Publication date: 10/04/2010

Publisher: The Heartland Institute

General Electric has closed its last major factory making incandescent light bulbs in the United States, a victim of a 2007 law banning sale of the light bulbs by 2014. Environmental activist groups promised the restrictions would create green jobs, but workers at GE’s Winchester, Virginia plant are finding the law is merely creating red jobs overseas in China.

Cheaper in China
The 2007 law imposed energy efficiency requirements that cannot be met by traditional incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), which are much more expensive than incandescent light bulbs, are the least expensive alternative. The manufacture of CFLs, however, is labor-intensive and too expensive to be done at U.S. wage rates.

GE could retrofit its Winchester plant to produce CFLs, but GE CFLs would be 50 percent more expensive than bulbs made in China with the benefit of cheap labor. Realizing it could not compete with such a cost disadvantage, GE is closing down its Winchester factory.

Two hundred workers at the Winchester plant are being put out to pasture during the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. Many others preceded them while CFLs gained increasing market share under the looming incandescent light bulb ban.

“Everybody’s jumping on the green bandwagon,” Pat Doyle, who worked at the Winchester plant for 26 years, told the Washington Post (September 8). But “we’ve been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE.”

“Environmental activists and their allies in Washington were either too ignorant of basic economics to see these job losses coming or they were simply too callous to really care,” explained Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr. “Either way, compact fluorescent light bulbs in the real world fail to live up to environmental promises, unnecessarily subject American households to toxic mercury, produce poor-quality light, and are sending American workers to the unemployment line.”

Job Losses Foreseeable
H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, says people should not be surprised by job losses caused by environmental mandates such as the ban on incandescent light bulbs.

“The claim that the unemployment caused by federal policies forcing CFL light bulbs on the public was an ‘unintended consequence’ would be laughable if the job losses weren’t so unfortunate,” explained Burnett. “They may have been unintended, but they were perfectly predictable. China has long dominated the CFL market, and even before Congress stepped in and basically banned incandescent light bulbs, manufacturing for CFLs was already moving overseas.”

Doubling down on the job-killing green mandates contained in the 2007 energy bill, “The Obama administration has repeatedly thrown billions of dollars in subsidies to ‘green technologies’ that can’t compete in the marketplace, are higher priced and thus aren’t chosen by most consumers when they vote with their pocketbooks, don’t function as well, and are manufactured overseas,” said Burnett.

Illusory Energy Savings
Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, pointed out banning incandescent light bulbs does not necessarily bring environmental benefits. In 1987 the town of Traer, Iowa handed out 18,000 free fluorescent bulbs to its residents in a demonstration project aimed at reducing power consumption, Kazman noted.  Residential electricity use actually rose by 8 percent, because people used more lights and kept them on longer, once they realized their lighting was cheaper.

“This is yet another demonstration that technologies that utilize energy more efficiently often result in more energy use rather than less, because the energy becomes more useful. When these technologies are developed in a free market, everyone gains. But when they’re forced on people by legal mandate, then the outcomes are somewhat different,” Kazman said.

He added, “Some people may be pleased, but many others are left dissatisfied, while reductions in energy consumption are far less than predicted and in some cases nonexistent.”

“If the new energy-saving technologies being pushed by government are really that good, then we don’t need government to mandate them.  And if they are being mandated, that’s a sure sign that they’re not very good,” Kazman observed.

Kenneth Artz ( writes from Dallas, Texas.

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UV And Its Effect on Works of Art

The Conservator of Art, at a major Midwestern University, recently pointed out that museums should not be using CFLs as the UV is damaging to the works of art.

This being understood, why would anyone ignore the fact that the UV emitted by CFL bulbs would also be damaging to the eyes of humans and household pets, as UV-blocker glasses are not usually worn in our homes or offices?

What about the effects of UV upon fabrics of carpets, rugs, draperies, and home furnishings?

Where is the EPA whose job it is to protect us?

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The Lightbulb Switchover: In The Dark

The Light Bulb Switchover: In the Dark

by Ed Feulner,  from of 28 September 2010

So, are you ready to comply with the federal government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs? Me neither.

Starting in January 2012, a little over a year from now, the phase-out begins. Simple, inexpensive lighting will become a time-capsule item. Compact-fluorescent lights, or CFLs — the bulbs that look like a twisted ice-cream cone (and won’t fit in many light fixtures where space is tight) — will become the new norm.

Anyone who has priced CFLs knows they’re not cheap. Supposedly they’re worth the extra money because they’ll last longer. That’s cold comfort, though, given the dull, unnatural glow that these bulbs throw off.

Worse, CFLs are full of mercury. If one breaks — and who hasn’t dropped a light bulb now and then? — you have an elaborate clean-up process ahead of you. It’s on the EPA’s website, and it involves evacuating the area of all people and pets, and using duct tape and damp paper towels to get everything up. (Go to for complete details.) And no vacuuming, or you may disperse the mercury – which, after all, is a toxic substance.

So why are we making the switch? It was mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The theory, of course, is that we’ll consume less energy. It’s all part of the green agenda. The same agenda that the president insists will produce scads of high-paying, earth-friendly “green jobs.” Tell that to the 200 workers in Winchester, Va., who are losing their jobs as General Electric closes its incandescent-bulb factory there. Or to the Americans who work in other plants that have been shuttered.

Yes, some jobs will be created, thanks to the ban. Unfortunately, those jobs won’t be here in the U.S. — they’ll be in China, where CFLs can be made cheaper.

Half of all the compact florescent bulbs sold in the U.S. come from just one Chinese manufacturer. “This is not an anomaly,” notes Heritage energy expert David Kreutzer. “Solar panel production is moving to China, as is windmill production.”

Perhaps what President Obama means by “green jobs” is that we’ll be moving lots of American greenbacks overseas to create jobs elsewhere. But at least we’ll be saving energy, right? Not according to a recent study sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. It found that energy use under newer “efficient” lighting will actually go up rather than down.

This whole affair is a prime example of bad “unintended consequences” resulting from well-intentioned plans — plans imposed by devotees of big-government solutions for nearly every problem.

Some lawmakers are trying to reverse this part of the 2007 law. Texas Reps. Joe Barton (R) and Michael Burgess (R), along with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), have introduced legislation to repeal the ban on incandescent bulbs.

“Washington-mandated layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession is one of many examples of what happens when politicians and activists think they know better than consumers and workers,” Barton said.

The question is: Will their fellow policymakers finally see the light?

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Dr. Magda Havas’ comments on CFLs

Dr. Magda Havas, Associate Professor,
Environmental & Resource Studies, Trent University
Peterborough, ON, Canada, K9J 7B8

(email rec’d 21 Aug 2010)

The word about CFLs is finally getting out.

There should be an enquiry about how governments around the world allowed the lighting industry to get them to insist their citizens use only CFL (since LEDs are still too expensive) light bulbs.

Governments didn’t do their homework on these lights.  They should be banned rather than promoted.

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Clinical report of a TBI survivor’s exposure to CFLs

Clinical report of the impact, to a TBI survivor, of CFL exposure

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EPA Instructions on CFL Cleanup

The same EPA which tells us how great CFLs are is now telling us how horrible the cleanup is when you break one.

Owners of places of public accommodation, may want to read this very carefully.

This is an excerpt from the EPA document: “If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.”

What liability can you incur if your place, your patrons, or your food supply becomes contaminated?

EPA Instructions on CFL Cleanup

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EPA “Cleaning Up a Broken CFL” – points to consider

From an insurance standpoint, this sounds like a potential nightmare for a restaurant, motel, hospital, extended care facility, retail establishment, and other places of public accommodation.

Here’s the EPA web site on CFL cleanup:

The document to which they refer is in the post, above “EPA Instructions on CFL Cleanup

Based upon the data in that document, the very first step is to “Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on the way out”.

Then it goes on “Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more”.

The third step is “Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.”

The food supply of a restaurant would likely be contaminated and the clothing of any patrons could be the subject of a claim, based upon the procedure set forth in the bottom section of the first page.

Perhaps insurance underwriters may wish to review their policies to determine the extent to which they want to cover such liability as it applies to business interruption as well as the consequential damages.

With the local hardware stores, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot selling them like popcorn and the State and Federal government subsidizing the sale of them, this risk exposure is going to get significantly worse before it gets better.

And it won’t get better until the manufacturers offer LED bulbs instead of the CFLs.

Perhaps you may wish to take a look at the “EPA Instructions on Cleanup” post to understand the magnitude of the implications in that procedure.

Who is going to reimburse your clients for the new clothing which they might need to replace that which is discarded in compliance with the EPA instructions?

Who is going to pay to decontaminate (replace) your food and office supplies?

Are these acceptable risks for your business to take?

These all add into the true cost of using CFLs, plus you still have to deal with the multiplicity of deleterious effects to one’s health and well-being.

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What is the government doing now?

The idiots in Washington are spending more of our money promoting CFLs, which take away my ability to function.  They started a web site, which tells you to take your kids on a “green” shopping trip and buy CFLs.   And another,, also promoting CFLs, without the facts of the serious medical consequences which so many people face.

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Excerpt From Adrian, Michigan, Daily Telegram Letter to the Editor, June 9, 2010

This Letter to the Editor of the Adrian (MI) Daily Telegram was published on June 9, 2010:

As you read this, it not only thanks the Tecumseh Public Schools for their awareness of this issue, but it also cautions merchants about the risk of having a Hazardous Waste cleanup problem should a CFL be broken as well as the potential for further injury to folks who have had Acquired Brain Injury.

Dr. Havas’ research has established that the mercury contained in one CFL bulb can contaminate 190,000 litres (>50,000 U.S. gallons) of water beyond the level considered safe for drinking. Imagine what it would do to the food supply of a restaurant.  Should the restaurant be evacuated so that the patrons do not get a dose of this toxic material?

Also, since Acquired Brain Injury is associated with medical issues with CFLs, it would be reasonable to expect that returning heroes, with IED injuries, may well experience these problems, but have yet to associate the cause and effect.

The indiscriminate use of CFLs could pose a serious liability issue for merchants who choose to use CFLs, particularly since the alternative is available in the form of LED lights, which do not have the deleterious effects.

Letter to the Editor

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Lose Your Excuse and The Ad Council

This advertisement is at best a uninformed statement and at the worst, criminal.

The following is a letter that was written to the Ad Council and

To: The Ad Council and

We commend and share your desire to conserve energy. However, the CFL is a product of the ill-advised
actions of well-intentioned people and legislators who set out to conserve energy but did not research the
unintended consequences of their actions and the cataclysmic results thereof.

Your ad campaign raises these critical questions:

1. Did you do any research as to the data which is represented as “fact” on the “”
website which you put together for the U.S. Government?

2. Are you aware that the serious medical problems which CFLs adversely impact include Migraines,
Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Dizziness/Vestibular Problems, Seizures, Nausea, Cardiac Arrhythmias,
Tremors, Anxiety/Panic Attacks, Fatigue, Autism, Head Pain, Acquired Brain Injury, ADHD, Scotopsia,
Electromagnetic Field Sensitivity, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Pain in Teeth, Pain or Pressure
in the Chest, Pressure In/Behind Eyes, Ringing in the Ears, Tingling, Shortness of Breath, Weakness,
Spike in Blood Sugar, Diabetes (type A and B), CFS/Myalgic Encephalopathy, Photosensitivity (Critical
Flicker Frequency), as well as Skin Rash, Lupus, Photosensitivity (medications), Fibromyalgia, Itching,
and Facial Flushing as well as other issues?

3. Are you aware of the latest recommendations of the American Lighting Association regarding
spurious emissions from CFLs and lighting choices including LED bulbs?

4. Have you checked out the more efficient alternatives to CFLs?

5. Do you know how to safely dispose of CFL?

6. Are you aware that the mercury in one CFL can pollute 190,000 litres of water beyond the level
considered safe for drinking?

By putting forth your data as fact, you are promoting serious damage not only to the quality of life of many
people but also to the credibility of the Ad Council.

For the medical facts please refer to the website:


Please take time to view the videos and peruse the plethora of research. It represents the work of
scientists from multiple disciplines and several countries.

Please also research the links to the medical data presented therein and the array of information from a
multitude of sources all of which contradict the premise that you put forth, namely that CFLs are something
to be used by all and promoted with taxpayer dollars.

As one of the many thousands of people impacted by CFLs, may I suggest that you do a bit more research
on the topic before you promote a harmful product to the detriment of many folks with varying
disabilities/medical conditions?

In the spirit of fairness and equity, it would seem reasonable that you donate advertising space and
billboards to give equal exposure to the medical facts presented in the website

I await your response.



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