• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Consumer groups call for end to EU light bulb ban

The Local · 3 Dec 2010, 07:55

Published: 03 Dec 2010 07:55 GMT+01:00

The energy saving bulbs show mercury levels 20 times higher than regulations allow in the air surrounding them for up to five hours after they are broken, according to tests released Thursday by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

“If the industry can’t manage to offer safe bulbs, then the incandescent bulbs must remain on the market until autumn of 2011,” said Gerd Billen, the leader of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZVB).

His group encouraged the federal government to push for a suspension of the ban in Brussels until there was a safe and practical alternative.

“It can’t be that the state bans a safe product and replaces it with a dangerous one,” Billen said.

In September 2009, the EU began phasing out incandescent light bulbs in a bid to save energy and protect the environment. Their replacements were meant to be the energy-saving bulbs such as compact fluorescent and LED lights. The complete phase-out of old light bulbs is to occur by 2012.

So far the UBA has tested just two types of lights.

“There was energy savings of up to 80 percent compared to incandescent bulbs, but this should come with safer products that have no avoidable health risks,” UBA President Jochen Flasbarth said, calling the mercury danger the “Achilles heel” of the energy saving bulbs.

Story continues below…

Flasbarth recommended that consumers use energy saving bulbs with protective plastic casings in areas such as children’s rooms to avoid the danger in the short term.

DPA/DAPD/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:22 December 3, 2010 by ReaderX
Well the EU won't ban the use of liquid mercury so long as it is profitable to use it.

There are many different applications that require it. So long as there is no replacement, companies will continue to provide it for sale. This in the long run equals taxes for the Governments. They are not going to give up a cash cow as long as they can still milk it.
17:04 December 3, 2010 by rcampbellnc
I have just setup new LED lighting, even more energy efficient than CFL. But they do cost much, much more. Still, for my needs, main lighting in two large rooms, they were the best decision. 9 lights, $50 EACH! But, each light uses less than 10W of power, can be dimmed (unlike CFL) and has a lifespan of >20 years! I think more effort should be made to get LED lights more cost effective. LED represents a way forward without incandescent lighting -- most new cars are now using LED, time to bring this home.
19:09 December 3, 2010 by Landmine
And nobody in the EU checked this before making this blanket law across all of Europe? Someone was asleep at the wheel....
05:09 December 4, 2010 by rfwilson
@bograt

"So why doesn't the EU simply ban the use of liquid mercury?"

You clearly misunderstand how a fluorescent light works. The mercury in it exists in gaseous form when working. Breaking the glass result in the escape of gaseous mercury. Locking the mercury in an amalgam is little help, because it needs to exit the amalgam as a gas for the lamp to work. Once cooled down, the mercury condenses anywhere in the lamp to a film of liquid.
18:38 December 4, 2010 by ReaderX
@Landmine The laws were made due to lobbyist pushing a green agenda.

Think about it, Someone reinvented the wheel but couldn't really sell it. So how do you force people to buy your product? Easy you make them feel guilty for not doing it.

Think of the poor little Polar bears. I mean without everyone in the EU switching light bulbs poor little knut will die. That's the whole shtick with this green movement.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for recycling and not intentionally trying to further destroy the planet. But for most of these companies is about money and nothing else.
14:08 December 8, 2010 by JosephR
Do not call them anymore lightbulbs, but electric heatradiators, and you can import them from China.

Has already beeb done in Germany.
Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,614
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd