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The Great CFL Light Bulb Scam!

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Martin Timothy

Joined: 08 Apr 2010
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:42 am    Post subject: The Great CFL Light Bulb Scam! Reply with quote


Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) are showing up everywhere. Traditional light bulbs we’ve all used are about to be a thing of the past. CFLs are another example of good intentions gone bad.

It should really be called “Green Insanity”. According to the “so-called experts” CFL bulbs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. The official US government website www.energystar.gov/cfls states the following:

CFLs produce light differently than incandescent bulbs. In an incandescent, electric current runs through a wire filament and heats the filament until it starts to glow. In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light.

CFLs need a little more energy when they are first turned on, but once the electricity starts moving, use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. A CFL’s ballast helps ‘kick start’ the CFL and then regulates the current once the electricity starts flowing.”

Lie #1 – These bulbs last longer. Fact: In some cases yes and in some cases no. Many people who have replaced their lights with CFLs have not experienced a longer lasting bulb. One user in Florida noted the following:

I have CFLs throughout my house, both inside and out. At first I didn’t want to use the bulbs but when I needed to replace some older ones that was all that was left to purchase. I was quite shocked actually to see that I can hardly find the older bulbs I used to use any more. I expected to see these new bulbs last for years after hearing all the hyped up reports about them.

I typically leave my porch lights on at night. To my surprise these bulbs burned no longer. In fact, they have burned out faster. I have 6 of them inset into my kitchen ceiling and one after the other has burned out. This is all in less than a year.

How can that be? I thought these bulbs would last for years without needing to be replaced. Boy do I think we’re all being conned. I’ve talked to others and they tell me the same thing. So, why is the government really mandating these bulbs to be used when they aren’t burning longer?”

Lie # 2 – CFLs are better for the environment. Fact: This is a complete lie backed up by no facts. They claim that power plants create up to 4 times the mercury to light an incandescent light. That sounds like a number pulled out of thin air just like all the cooked books to sell us on global warming.

How can that be when these bulbs don’t last much longer? The truth is these bulbs are a 1,000 times worse for the environment because of the mercury gas they contain. These bulbs will emit mercury gas thereby contaminating a person with the second most toxic heavy metal known to man and they will contaminate the earth with mercury on a scale unseen in human history.

They say “be careful of the mercury inside the bulb and if you accidentally break one be sure to open the windows and use gloves to pick up the pieces.” How many people will do that? Duh! Billions of people all over the world will be dumping their burned out CFLs in the garbage which will contaminate the landscape of the earth with mercury.

According to mercury expert John Moore in a story published in Crusador: “The new long-life, low-energy fluorescent light bulb that is in the marketplace is a mercury light bulb. What makes fluorescents work is that you put a coating on the inside of the bulb, then you put mercury in it, then you activate the mercury and it lights the tube.

Unfortunately, over time the mercury escapes through the glass. The mercury cannot be contained; it will pass through the glass. Mercury will dissolve all but 3 metals: iron, platinum, and nickel according to the chemistry handbook that is used at universities. It’s an unbelievable material. Mercury is also the only metal that goes from a liquid to a vapor form, and it starts doing that at 50 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. It’s really the genie out of the bottle.”

Lie # 3 – CFLs won’t harm people. Fact: It appears that the sole reason for switching to these bulbs is to harm people. First of all in the near future you won’t even be able to buy an old light bulb. That means that every single human being will be exposed to mercury vapor off-gassing from these bulbs. It also means that this mercury will seep into vital waterways worldwide as landfills get piled up with burned out CFL bulbs.

That means more mercury in your fish and food. Where’s Al Gore the liar to save us? We have thimerosal in vaccines which anyone except a paid off turn-coat working for industry or government knows harms people. Just ask all the vaccine injured children. Whatever happened to mercury thermometers? We were told they were safe but you can’t buy one anymore. Guess they learned after all that they were bad.

Then we have mercury amalgam dental fillings. “Oh, they’re totally safe and good for you”, says the government. Really! Just ask all the people who have seen their health destroyed by mercury fillings. The fact is mercury is an absolute known human health destroyer and mercury laced light bulbs will just add to an already over-burdened toxic load in people.

And last of all, check the country of origin for all the CFLs. They’re all made in China! That’s right, the great nation of the world who has done more to pollute and contaminate the environment in the last twenty years than any other industrialized nation before it.

Do you remember Melamine in milk that blows out your kidneys coming from China? How about all the drywall that has contaminated millions of homes with toxins? How about all the children’s toys loaded with lead and cadmium? That’s just scratching the surface. So, when it comes to CFLs, users beware!
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Martin Timothy

Joined: 08 Apr 2010
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Background- I'm an electronics engineer. I've designed and built switch mode power supplies, and understand the principles and various types quite well. I also like to pull things apart to see how they work. I've had several CFLs fail, always long before the supposed MTBF, and stripped them down to see why they failed.

So here's my professional opinion on CFLs.

Yes, using an electronic inverter to drive a fluorescent tube can achieve a higher efficiency of converting electric power to light, than with an incandescent bulb. But there are many other factors, which make CFLs not so wonderful.

1. Mercury. Fluorescent tubes do contain mercury, by fundamental design. The way the tube works, is it contains a near-vacuum but with a small amount of mercury vapor. When current passes through this, ionizing it, the mercury ions emit ultraviolet light.

The UV photons hit the phosphor coated on the inside of the tube. The phosphor is a complex mix of substances, which absorb the UV photons and re emit fluoresce in the visible light spectrum. Different phosphor mixes produce the different color shades available in fluorescent lights.

So the mercury is unavoidable. And yes, it is a severely dangerous cumulative neurotoxin, and is harmful to inhale as the vapor released when a CFL is broken. Anyone pretending 'mercury is not dangerous' is either an ignorant fool, or a shill for the various mercury-dependent industries. Dental amalgams and CFLs for example.

2. Total energy cost of the materials in CFLs is *far* higher than for old incandescent bulbs. There's almost nothing in an old bulb. A few grams of glass, bulb and base insulator, copper & steel, the wires, a smidgin of tungsten and carbon filament, a bit of brass or aluminum sheet base, and a little solder base contacts, the tiny amount of filling gas is nitrogen - harmless.

A CFL is just ridiculous, for a disposable item. Much more glass, and in a complex shape that required multiple manufacturing stages. The mercury, and also the phosphor, which is a secret proprietary mix containing several rare earths, typically poisonous.

Then there's the plastic body, and the electronics. In the electronics we have a wide mix of all sorts of compounds - ferrites in the inverter transformer, fiberglass or phenolics for the circuit board, aluminum, plastic and a complex mix of chemicals in the electrolytic capacitors, copper, tin, glass, plastic resins, silicon and it's many trace dopants in the semiconductor components, ceramics, paints, metals in the resistors, and so on.

I have NEVER seen any kind of comprehensive accounting of the energy and material costs of manufacturing a CFL bulb. I would not be at all surprised if the energy cost alone was far higher than the supposed energy saving, relative to an incandescent bulb, over it's advertised working lifetime. I think the only reason these are 'economically viable' is because they are all made in SE Asia, with the disparity in exchange rates hiding the real production, material and labor costs.

3. Disposal The entire rationale for replacing incandescents with CFLs is supposed to be 'care for the environment'. In particular the aim of reducing CO2 emissions, from coal/oil/gas fired power stations. But for starters the 'Man made global warming due to CO2' thing has been revealed to be a total lie and scam.

Secondly, the energy used by light bulbs relative to total energy consumption is pretty small, I don't know the exact figure. Thirdly, harm to the environment takes many forms. One of them is the amount of garbage humans dump in landfills, and what nasty chemicals leach from those landfills over time.

In my opinion CFLs are going to turn out to be a really serious landfill contamination problem. People don't normally turn over all that much in the way of electronic appliances, with all the complex of contaminants they contain. Once everyone starts using CFLs exclusively for lighting, given the short *true* lifetime of these things, it's going to hugely increase the 'turnover' of consumer electronic devices, and the resulting landfill headache. For this reason alone CFLs are a disaster.

4. Hypocrisy. The people pushing CFLs are claiming to be trying to reduce energy consumption for lighting. But... if they really cared about this, they'd be addressing a *much* more significant waste of electricity on lighting.

Excessive lighting of public places, buildings, streets, etc at night. The amount of power that is wasted making streets, etc brightly lit, everywhere, and for the whole night, is so stupid it's psychotic. Not to mention that it destroys the visibility of the night sky in cities, and what that does to the human soul. Personally, I'd rather stick with old tunsten bulbs, and have my streets slightly lit or even totally unlit at night.

5. Working life Mean Time Before Failure lies. This is where it starts getting *really* annoying. With a good design, a CFL light could last as long as the tube will last. There are factors that limit the tube life, that are difficult to eliminate. Filament burnout, out gasing of the metals, hydrogen diffusion through the glass, degradation of the phosphor compounds, etc. But I have NEVER yet seen a CFL that died due to tube failure.

What typically happens is failure of the electronics long before the advertised MTBF, due to poor design and/or cost cutting resulting in under-rated component specs. There are several common failure modes. Starting at the mains voltage input and working through, we see:

- failure of input rectifier semiconductors, due to a mains voltage spike or simple random failure.

- failure of main electrolytic capacitor, that takes full rectified mains voltage. These are almost always underrated in SE Asian CFLs, both for peak voltage, and ripple current. They either fail suddenly due to insulation punch-through, or overheat and vent their electrolyte, then fail completely.

- Failure of main inverter drive semiconductor(s). Underrated for voltage, or overheated.

- Shorted turns in inverter transformer. Overheated, or inadequate inter-winding insulation.

- Assorted other faults - bad solder joints, component failures, etc.

To sum it up: All the CFLs I ever pulled apart about a dozen, over recent years were unspeakable, cheap and nasty junk. If anything should be banned, it should be these junky, wastefull things, not tungsten bulbs.

6. Electromagnetic pollution. There's been a long line of studies that find human biology is negatively impacted by external electromagnetic fields, right across the frequency spectrum. From the 50 or 60 Hertz of AC mains, through the radio/cell phone spectrum and up into the microwave region.

And harmful effects now being also found in the millimeter wave bands, as used by the 'see through clothing' airport body scanners. Fortunately, 50 & 60 Hz fields are not terribly harmful in small amounts, or we'd all be sick and dying from the fields emitted by household mains wiring.

Note that some people really are sensitive to even these. Filament light bulbs produce no more EM emission than the wiring from the switch to the light - just a bit of 50Hz 'hum'.

CFLs on the other hand, are pretty nasty emitters of higher harmonic EM. It's unavoidable - the electronic inverter is chopping the rectified mains at some frequency in the range 20KHz and up, then passing current at that frequency through the glass fluorecent tube. The tube thus unavoidably acts as a transmitter antenna, at the chopping frequency plus it's harmonics, since the current is typically a square-ish wave.

Few people understand this. But it's one of the most serious health risks from CFLs. It's simply not known what the long term health effects of exposure to such EM effects will be. OR.... perhaps it is known by some, and the CFL push is part of the global elite's push for population reduction through increased mortality rates? In today's world, such ideas don't seem as outrageously ridiculous as they might have ten years ago.

7. Dimness. CFLs do produce more light per Watt of power consumed. But... they rarely come in versions brighter than 'equivalent to a 70W bulb.'

They also tend to be a bit dim when turned on, then reach their maximum brightness as they warm up. In any case, it's hard to get a room nice and bright, as it would be with good old 100W tungsten bulb. This is pretty important if you are trying to do some work, or just have older eyes.

8. Lastly, profit, bribery and politics. It seems to me that one of the most significant factors behind the push to force a switch to CFLs, could be bribery of legislators, by those with financial interests in the production of CFLs.

Also, those with a political agenda regarding the destruction of national self-sufficiency of western countries. Some people are making a lot of money from this regulation-forced switch to CFLs, and any domestic producers of ordinary light bulbs are being put out of business.

The CFLs now are all being made in SE Asian countries, where cheap and nasty electronics manufacture is very cheap. Add one more essential product that won't be available locally when the inevitable collapse of the fiat currencies occurs - light bulbs.

Oh, and incidentally I didn't notice any of the CFLs I stripped being 'ROHS compliant', ie using lead-free solder. That was another scam, used to deliberately decimate the electronics manufacturing industry in Western countries.
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