National Geographic Daily News
Three light bulbs.

When light bulbs are compared side-by-side, some consumers are turned off by labeling that stresses the environmental benefits of efficient choices, a study finds.

Photograph by Tyrone Turner, National Geographic

Brian Handwerk

For National Geographic News

Published April 30, 2013

How many conservatives does it take to change a light bulb? A more intriguing question might be, "How many conservatives can you persuade to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs?" New research suggests that fewer will buy such bulbs when they're labeled as being good for the environment, largely because the issue of carbon emission reductions is so politically polarizing in the United States.

"I think we've shown the negative consequences of environmental messaging," explained Dena Gromet, of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, lead author of a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "In particular, you can lose significant portions of people who would otherwise be interested in these products when you use that environmental labeling. So it indicates that different messages can reach different groups." (See related interactive: "Light Bulb Savings Calculator.")

The United States is one of many countries forcing a switch to more efficient light bulbs. In January, new efficiency requirements went into effect for 75-watt incandescent bulbs, following new standards on 100-watt bulbs a year earlier. (See related story: "U.S. Bids Farewell to the 75-Watt Incandescent Light Bulb.") The changes are driving a projected 857 kilowatthour-per-household reduction in energy used for U.S. residential lighting by 2040, a greater cut than for any other area of household energy use. But consumer complaints have been persistent, and Congress cut funding to enforce the standards.  (See related quiz: "What You Don't Know About Energy-Efficient Lighting.")

The Importance of Price

Gromet and colleagues from Wharton and Duke University's Fuqua School of Business first queried 657 volunteers to find out whether their opinions on energy-efficient products were split along a political divide. They were, she reported, and the issue of emissions reductions explained much of that ideological distance.

Then, a set of 210 potential buyers were armed with information on the benefits of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), which last 9,000 hours longer than incandescent bulbs, and cut energy costs by 75 percent. They were asked to choose between lower efficiency and higher efficiency options; efficient bulbs were offered, labeled with a "protect the environment" sticker in some cases, and at other times with a blank sticker.

Political divisions appeared in purchasing choices—but not until price became an issue. When all bulbs were priced the same, every participant save one chose the energy-efficient option regardless of political persuasion.

"That indicates that people recognize the greater economic value of the bulb when there isn't a higher up-front cost," Gromet explained. But when the study represented retail realities, that more efficient options carry a higher up-front price tag (though consumers save money in the long run through lowered utility bills), fewer conservatives were willing to pay the extra cash for bulbs labeled as good for the environment.

"Our results demonstrated that a choice that wasn't ideologically polarizing without a ("protect the environment") label became polarizing when we included that environmental labeling," Gromet said. "We saw a significant drop-off in conservative people choosing to buy a more expensive, energy-efficient option."

The explanation, Gromet suggests, could lie in labeling a consumer choice to represent values that simply aren't shared by all buyers—in this case the environmental issue of reducing carbon emissions.

"So it makes that choice unattractive to some people even if they recognize that it may be a money-saving choice. When we asked afterward, those consumers identified the CFL bulbs as providing greater monetary savings over time. But they would forgo that option when that product was made to represent a value that was not something they wanted to be identified with." (See related: "Missing the Chance for Big Energy Savings.")

The study also suggested that pro-environmental messages don't have much of a positive influence on liberal consumers at the other end of the political spectrum. "We didn't see a significant boost among political liberals when we used the environmental message in our study," Gromet added. "We'd need a lot more data, but one possibility stemming from that is that you're not necessarily getting that much of a boost on the liberal side."

Other Factors at Work?

Jacquelyn Ottman, a marketing consultant specializing in sustainability who wrote The New Rules of Green Marketing, said she wouldn't expect green labeling to provide a big consumer boost for liberals or conservatives. People buy green products for the value they represent and because they work, she explained. Environmentally aware consumers do appreciate health benefits, and hope to protect the future for their families, but they aren't entirely swayed by green messaging, she said.

"Green marketing I lump in with things like 'made in America' or 'the union label.' They are nice for some people to think about when purchasing and maybe they add a little value are not really game-changers in terms of swaying decisions. Some people conclude that Americans don't care about the environment because if they did they'd be buying more green products. But by that logic you'd say Americans don't care about America because if they did they'd be buying more 'made in America' products also."

As for the possible negative implications of green labeling, Ottman said other factors are likely at work besides politics. Some green offerings still battle stereotypes from decades ago, she said, when many were viewed as "alternative" products that simply didn't work as well and weren't produced by the larger brands consumers had come to trust. "There is a lingering misconception about green products that they don't work and that they are overpriced because they are gouging people based on their sentiments about saving the planet," she said.

Some recent market research suggests that a different factor might be at work: Consumer dislike for CFLs may be a far greater problem than price or messaging. Sales of solid-state LED lighting are growing rapidly, even though this high-efficiency choice is more costly than CFLs. The Wharton-Duke study did not test attitudes on LEDs.  (See related post: "LED Holiday Lights Boost the Season's Energy Efficiency.")

Ottman added that some marketers might be more interested to learn about how short-term versus long-term savings factor into consumers' decision making, especially vis-à-vis premium pricing for many environmentally preferable products—including light bulbs.

That's an issue Gromet hopes to explore as well, along with energy independence and other benefits of efficient products unrelated to the environment.

"It's an open question whether emphasizing those other aspects of energy-efficiency might have different appeal to different (political sensibilities) and a different impact on consumer decisions," she said.

Editors' note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that household energy use for lighting was projected to decrease by 857 percent. It has been corrected to reflect the reduction is 857 kilowatthours.

This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.

118 comments
Ben McLean
Ben McLean

I read that CFLs tend to explode and contain large amounts of mercury which is actually bad for the environment if it gets into a landfill. Not being much of a scientist, I'm not sure how to evaluate this claim. But one thing I do know is that the simpler appearance of the incandescent bulbs and the softer seeming light they emit may be more aesthetically pleasing. The CFLs are just ugly. LEDs, with a proper setting to soften the light might end up beating both in the end, despite it's higher price.

lucas lou
lucas lou

I am finding that CFLs make sense in some places, LEDs in others, and even incandescent bulbs still have a place.  www.lightingever.es

 Saving energy and saving money can co-exist if you have the right approach.

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones

You should be aware that you have the a very good quality manufacturer in USA, it's called CREE. You have the best price/quality ratio in the world, only Nichia (Japan) produces better quality LED emitters but also more expensive, other known brands including Seoul are more expensive and/or lower quality. Chinese LEDs degrade fast because of impure crystals, Taiwanese are even worse. I think you could buy cheap solar panels from China but their LEDs are so bad that the light will decrease in less than a year.

All quality LEDs have a lifetime of 50 000 - 100 000 hours and come in varieties of pure/warm/cold white, i like the Cree warm white LEDs a lot, they are similar to Sunlight, just don't look directly at them because some are so bright you'll compare them to welding spark.


I started experimenting with LEDs when they were quite expensive for my budget and i thing that clusters of smaller LEDs are better than  high power ones for indoor use as replacement for classic bulbs because you can make the light omnidirectional and they don't burn your retina if you stare at them. High power LEDs are better for cars and flashlights where you need to generate a lot of light in a small space and never stare at it.

Zen Galacticore
Zen Galacticore

One would think that, regardless of political affiliation or worldview, that any human being would want to protect the environment he/she lives in. I can't fathom the anti-environmentalist factions among us. Do they remember the Cuyahoga River catching fire and burning for days back in circa 1968? How do they feel about that? Are they okay with bodies of water catching fire and burning? 

Arthur Corbin
Arthur Corbin

The amount of mercury in today's CFL is roughly the same as a bite of tuna (from a study by Lawrence Berkeley Lab). The amount of free mercury remaining at the end of the CFL life is nearly 0 due to mercury being absorbed by the phosphors inside the fluorescent.

The majority of mercury pollution in our environment is from coal-fired electrical generators. Mercury from coal is carried into the air from the smokestack and lands on the sea (contributing to acidification) and land. High level fish (tuna, halibut) now have high levels of mercury and scientists recommend eating fish no more than once a week.

A 100 watt incandescent can be replaced with a 23 watt CFL or a 20 watt LED depending on fixture type & lighting use. Most LEDs cannot be used in enclosed fixtures, some CFLs can. CFL life averages around 10,000 hours or 4 to 10 years in a residence. LED life ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 hours or 8 to  maybe 25 years in a residence. Light quality and light distribution are often better in a new fixture that is fluorescent or LED. Some CFLS & most LEDs will dim though not all dimmers will work.

Cold temperature CFLs are available, these also function in high temperatures (enclosed fixtures, as an example).

The GE Reveal brand produces a pinkish-lavender light that is softer & easier on the eyes. Reveal will not appear to be as bright due to the reduction in orange-yellow output.

Significant research has confirmed that the eye contains photoreceptors that directly signal the brain & affect hormone production & thus health. This discovery will change how we use natural & artificial light in our lives. One clue to this is the observation that south-facing hospital rooms result in faster patient recovery & healing.

I work as a lighting designer & teacher. I have worked with lighting for 20+ years. CFLs likely will be a transitional illuminant with LED & OLED our primary sources of light in the future.

Lorena M.
Lorena M.

CFL's are harmful to the environment and can explode. This is never a good choice. Did you know when farmers use LED in the barn Chickens grow 6% faster and Cows produce 6% more milk? I have also had reports from our laying barns that the chickens are much calmer. So if it does this to Animals maybe then they are good for you too. I have them in my shop rental and home I have had 1% failures and of those I just repaired the driver as our LEDS are repairable. Only change the commonly used ones this will also help. The biggest problem I see is the lack of education about the product. As for your buy American argument..... just look as there are manufactures of LED in the US and CREE chip technology was developed in the US so do some research. This is the Light emitting pad that is in the LED.  

Stacey Dunleavy
Stacey Dunleavy

There is quite a movement to buy American.  Unfortunately, there is no "energy-efficient" light bulb made in this country.  Which makes me wonder, how much energy savings is there when factored in the carbon emitted manufacturing them in the world's most polluted country (China) and shipping them thousands of miles from there?

John C.
John C.

"We didn't see a significant boost among political liberals when we used the environmental message in our study," Gromet added.

Kobe Wild
Kobe Wild

I don't buy "green" led based bulbs because of price.. it does not matter that it's good for the "environment" it matters that they cost bank.

with a cost of $20.00 each. it would take a while get back the cost of that bulb in savings..   I'll stick with fluorescent bulbs right now.

Dr-Eric Swanson
Dr-Eric Swanson

I think that there are so many great light bulbs out there that people need to find the most relevant ones to their needs. For example when I look for light bulbs for sale https://www.1lightbulbs.com/all-categories.html I am bombarded with hundreds of different bulbs. Being green is good if its easy thats like Steve Jobs said for paying for sonething if the price is small and its convenient. 

Lets It right
Lets It right

Just because something is labeled "Green" doesn't mean there good for the environment and may actually be worse. 

The article mentions CFL's (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs). Yes they save energy and save the environment in regards to energy. But they are filled with hazardous materials both for the humans and for environment. If and incandescent breaks use a broom and sweep it up. If a CFL's breaks your better break out the hazardous material suit breather and all. Just look at the suggestions the US government suggest to clean one up.

I could talk about some of the same things when it comes to the batteries that go into electric cars. The process it takes to create one of them batteries yet alone multiples of them for a single car is much worse for the environment than the carbon dioxide that a gas car spits. Remember trees take CO2 in and use it for growing. Where the strip mining process that they use to get the components for new batteries is absolutely awful for the environment.

Yet this article talks about politics and the use of term green. There for lets use the poster child of the Democratic party. Nancy P. from CA. Here is a quote from her, "We've got to pass this bill to see whats in it." This lady isn't about whats best for the people of the US. She NOT saying lets look at the pros and cons of a bill. She's NOT saying lets have reasonable discourse on the effects of the US citizens. It's about whats best for her and getting her butt reelected. She could care less, that the light bulb shes touting is hazardous to people. She could care less that the bulb shes touting is more poisonous to the environment than the bulb it replaces. No it's lest get my butt reelected so can pass more bills with out reading them. For her the term green means it will will help her get reelected so she going to use it every chance she gets. This is the norm for the Democratic party. Say anything to get elected, so I can have power, who cares weather its good for the people.

Now you compare that to the majority of the Republican Party that is willing to actually stand for something and I'll pick them. Granted I'm not happy with every thing they do but at least they have some principles or the Democratic party would take such joy in point the Republican parties flaws out. 

So when it comes to politics. who your going to believe? Some one who lies to you ever chance she gets or some one how might actually have some principles?

To wrap up unfortunately green has been use way to many times to say "this is good", when it really wasn't and the Democrats have been the poster child for green.

Lets It right
Lets It right

Just because something is labeled "Green" doesn't mean there good for the environment and may actually be worse. 

The article mentions CFL's (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs). Yes they save energy and save the environment in regards to energy. But they are filled with hazardous materials both for the humans and for environment. If and incandescent breaks use a broom and sweep it up. If a CFL's breaks your better break out the hazardous material suit breather and all. Just look at the suggestions the US government suggest to clean one up.

I could talk about some of the same things when it comes to the batteries that go into electric cars. The process it takes to create one of them batteries yet alone multiples of them for a single car is much worse for the environment than the carbon dioxide that a gas car spits. Remember trees take CO2 in and use it for growing. Where the strip mining process that they use to get the components for new batteries is absolutely awful for the environment.

Yet this article talks about politics and the use of term green. There for lets use the poster child of the Democratic party. Nancy P. from CA. Here is a quote from her, "We've got to pass this bill to see whats in it." This lady isn't about whats best for the people of the US. She NOT saying lets look at the pros and cons of a bill. She's NOT saying lets have reasonable discourse on the effects of the US citizens. It's about whats best for her and getting her butt reelected. She could care less, that the light bulb shes touting is hazardous to people. She could care less that the bulb shes touting is more poisonous to the environment than the bulb it replaces. No it's lest get my butt reelected so can pass more bills with out reading them. For her the term green means it will will help her get reelected so she going to use it every chance she gets. This is the norm for the Democratic party. Say anything to get elected, so I can have power, who cares weather its good for the people.

Now you compare that to the majority of the Republican Party that is willing to actually stand for something and I'll pick them. Granted I'm not happy with every thing they do but at least they have some principles or the Democratic party would take such joy in point the Republican parties flaws out. 

So when it comes to politics. who your going to believe? Some one who lies to you ever chance she gets or some one how might actually have some principles?

To wrap up unfortunately green has been use way to many times to say "this is good", when it really wasn't and the Democrats have been the poster child for green.

Jeremy Routhier-James
Jeremy Routhier-James

This is a very misleading interpretation of the experiment conducted.  It seems to me that the up-front cost was the important variable and not the environmental labeling.  The article even says as much:  "Political divisions appeared in purchasing choices—but not until price became an issue. When all bulbs were priced the same, every participant save one chose the energy-efficient option regardless of political persuasion."  What this tells me is that conservatives are less willing to spend money up-front to potentially save money later, which is more a restatement of that group's political beliefs than an actual finding.  This smacks of manipulating science to further a political agenda.  It's a political agenda I happen to agree with, but that doesn't make it right to shamelessly misrepresent the findings like this.  

Final Opinion
Final Opinion

Just a comment about Mercury.  First I do accept Mercury levels are a genuine cause for health concerns.  However, I have never been able to explain to myself why I, and millions of other people who played with Mercury as children, were able to grow up and go on to lead healthy productive lives.  In my case I practiced anesthesia for fifty years. As child we even took Murcury to school in small bottles to shine our nickels and pennies.  I am currently healthy and will soon be 8o yrs. old.  How did we ever survive?

aRocket Scientist
aRocket Scientist

Some people just seem to like telling others what to do, how to live, and have no problem having a guy with a gun to enforce their Utopian dream upon others. They are called Authoritarians, both Democrat and Republican, it doesn't matter, in the end it comes down to a guy with a gun who is willing to shoot you if you don't comply. Adding light bulbs to the Prohibition list is a bad idea.

Energy efficient bulbs are great, but its nice to have a few of the old style filament bulbs around to keep things in my unheated shed from freezing on those few really cold nights.

Patty Brown
Patty Brown

All this proves is that conservatives are willing to destroy the planet in order to further their personal gains.  Greed is good.  Old news.

Frank Provasek
Frank Provasek

There is an obvious error in the article...an 857 PERCENT reduction in energey use, is, of course, impossible, and should read 857 kilowatt-hour reduction per household.  That's 22.1 GALLONS of oil we don't have to import from those evil MUSLIMS who hate us and use our money to kill Americans  because we love Jesus.  That's actually CLOSE to what George W. Bush said when he  signed the bill requring more efficient light bulbs.  I guess that's how the stickers should read for Republicans -- and that's a shame.  There was never a BAN on standard light bulbs...only minimum energy standards.  But the idea of running enough electricity through a thin wire that it heats up enough to make light (with 95% of the energy used to make HEAT -- and electric heat is very expensive, so please no arguments that it saves money on the furnace!) is so 1879!  The anti-efficent light bulb arguments are so weak, they fall on themselves!  Standard lighbulb manufacturing under GE/Sylvania/Westinghouse/Philips (like almost all manufacturing) did the standard move from USA to Canada to Mexico to China in the past 30 years.  The long tube flourescents that have been around 75 years have nearly 100 times more mercury in them.  And your HDTV, computer monitor and laptop screens almost certainly contain mercury in the flourescent backlight.  This meme that Obama was behind this as part of his secret goals to make slaves of white people was pushed hardest by Fox News.  Is it a coincidence that Fox News' biggest non-Murdoch shareholder is a Saudi prince -- the same one that sent Mayor Rudy a $10 million check after 9/11, which was returned uncashed after the prince blamed America for 9/11 because of our support of Israel?   

Jon Preston
Jon Preston

I'm a conservative. We purchase light bulbs based on an analysis of the expected longevity of the bulb, the wattage consumed, the light output, the color temperature, the cost of operation and the cost of the bulb. Silly feel good carbon footprint, pretty green leaves or "eco" labels have nothing to do with it. Those of you who make your choices because of how it makes you feel or whether or not it gives you brownie points with your smug eco-global warming-carbon footprint friends are foolish.

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones

@Stacey Dunleavy BTW: I bought one of these US CREE preassembled light bulbs with controller for about 12$, it was an early model with 2 LEDs, after placing it in the bathroom the moisture killed on of the LEDs but it still outlived a dozen or more CFL mercury filled junk from popular brands such as Phillips and Osram, the junk CFLs "made in China" from IKEA still work ...

I'm sure that if i could disassemble the CREE bulb i could fix the problem with the other LED but i hope to find some extra time and assemble my own array of CREEs in transparent paraffin oil in test tubes. In the future i'll probably go for arrays of LEDs or something easier to mount, they would still be cheaper than "LED bulbs".

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones

@Stacey DunleavyYou should be aware that you have the a very good quality manufacturer in USA, it's called CREE. You have the best price/quality ratio in the world, only Nichia (Japan) produces better quality LED emitters but also more expensive, other known brands including Seoul are more expensive and/or lower quality. Chinese LEDs degrade fast because of impure crystals, Taiwanese are even worse. I think you could buy cheap solar panels from China but their LEDs are so bad that the light will decrease in less than a year.

All quality LEDs have a lifetime of 50 000 - 100 000 hours and come in varieties of pure/warm/cold white, i like the Cree warm white LEDs a lot, they are similar to Sunlight, just don't look directly at them because some are so bright you'll compare them to welding spark.

I started experimenting with LEDs when they were quite expensive for my budget and i thing that clusters of smaller LEDs are better than  high power ones for indoor use as replacement for classic bulbs because you can make the light omnidirectional and they don't burn your retina if you stare at them. High power LEDs are better for cars and flashlights where you need to generate a lot of light in a small space and never stare at it.

If you (US citizens) don't want to end up like us (smaller former communist countries) with no industry left after the fall of communism you should buy mostly American products and avoid cheap stuff from companies that exploit their employees to such a level that some commit suicide (see Foxconn).

Stop the crazy outsourcing of manufacturing before it's too late and your economy collapses dragging the whole world into chaos and war.

Also it wouldn't hurt if you rediscovered your more spiritual side before everything does down, you could "import" that from these parts of the world, some of us still haven't forgotten our traditions and ancestry.

BTW: I'm from Romania, you know the "Dracula" country, you'll find it on the map on the west side of the Black Sea :)


Amanda Wallace
Amanda Wallace

@Kobe WildWhere are you shopping at that you're paying $20 a bulb?? You can get a 12 pack of GE ones for $10.99 on Amazon. Even Walmart has them much cheaper than $20 per bulb. And you will save money. I've had one in the kitchen for over a year now and not only is it a lower watt but it's brighter and has extremely outlasted the 3-4 weeks I used to get from the old ones. Just do some shopping and stop thinking they all cost $20 each because while some do, most don't.

Bettina Kozlowski
Bettina Kozlowski

@Lets It right your rant is neither coherent nor smart. Typical for Republicans to not be able to reason on point.

"Now you compare that to the majority of the Republican Party that is willing to actually stand for something and I'll pick them. Granted I'm not happy with every thing they do but at least they have some principles or the Democratic party would take such joy in point the Republican parties flaws out. "

What a bunch of c r a p. 

Lorena M.
Lorena M.

@Lets It right  

If you choose LED's that can be repaired then you have a great product that will not go into the Landfill

Bettina Kozlowski
Bettina Kozlowski

@Lets It right"Now you compare that to the majority of the Republican Party that is willing to actually stand for something and I'll pick them. Granted I'm not happy with every thing they do but at least they have some principles or the Democratic party would take such joy in point the Republican parties flaws out."

Yep. Republicans stand for lack of intelligence, logic and common sense.

The whole world would laugh at the idea that a part of Americans would boycott a product because it's good for the environment. Republicans fail to see the absurdity of their entire ideology, but at least  they make me laugh.

Lorena M.
Lorena M.

@Final Opinion  

Some do but are you sure you would not have been smarter without it? What about all the people who can not be under CFL light there is also flicker effect to consider. If animals are happy then why would we be any different under LED lights? also did you know that Mercury Never leaves the body. The next time your hand shakes ask yourself why. 

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@aRocket Scientist So all laws are really just "a guy with a gun enforcing his utopian dream on others"? Does that apply to laws against terrorism? Against illegal immigration? Taxes?


Rob Rivers
Rob Rivers

@Patty Brown -- no you're to blind to see this as a conservative hit piece wrapped in faux science -- you swallowed it like a good little liberal

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Patty Brown The point of the study is that conservatives are NOT greedy: they're stupid! They make economically dumb decisions for reasons of political ideology.

Marianne Lavelle
Marianne Lavelle

@Frank Provasek Thanks so much Frank! We've corrected that error in the story--the projected reduction is 857 kilowatthours per household! Marianne Lavelle, energy editor

Chris Crawford
Chris Crawford

@Jon Preston Good for you. And I agree that being influenced by an environmentalist tag -- either for or against -- is dumb. Light bulbs are pretty simple devices: they make light. It's a simple matter to evaluate their value based on a few numbers. That's what should guide the decision.

Randy Tolleson
Randy Tolleson

@Jon Preston Good approach.  Make a decision based on facts, data, and personal preferences rather than the "Eco" sticker. How will we ever attain utopia with thinking like that!!! <\sarcasm off>

Lorena M.
Lorena M.

@Amanda Wallace @Kobe Wild  

Please remember you get what you pay for so read the label first so of those do not dim and are not very bright or do not have UL certification.

Lorena M.
Lorena M.

@Nicole Inv @Lets It right  

Not really ... just because it is said does not make it true. There are other things to consider.  The posted is clearly not in the industry but I am sure it sounded good....

Meredith Heffernan
Meredith Heffernan

@Chris Crawford  The reason the USA was established was to avoid all of the laws of the British. This is because the British were run by a church, and not a small group of idealists who really just want the best for the people. The government was then set up to hopefully minimize the number of power-hungry people in it. The point was that the fewer regulations created, the less power the government has. Now, whether Republican or Democrat, our government is full of power hungry politicians. I hate to watch us going backwards from the great things that we accomplished, but because of human nature it was only a matter of time. They use stuff like terrorism and illegal immigration to increase taxes and make more laws.

Governments are meant to be a basic protection program that we pay into. It should defend against invaders and keep people from being subject to obvious injustices, such as rape and murder. That said, politicians are imperfect like everyone else and there are way too many government programs that don't work, yet continue to suck out our tax dollars. Then we end up poor, and subject to a government that doesn't work, and eventually quits caring about us. It becomes a power-struggle with the people at its mercy. That is why people are against making a lot of new laws.

aRocket Scientist is expressing that the older light bulbs provide more than one purpose for him: heat and light. For me, they keep my headaches at bay - I am very sensitive to daylight, but less efficient yellow lights don't bother me as much. If a law were passed saying we couldn't use these any more, it would basically be because the government wants to be more eco-friendly at the expense of others, when really it is a moral choice from person-to-person. Unlike terrorism, it isn't hurting anyone else for us to use the old lightbulbs.

aRocket Scientist
aRocket Scientist

@Chris Crawford @aRocket Scientist

Kind of off the light bulb topic. But, generally Libertarians believe that it is appropriate to use force when one person is violating the rights of another. Terrorism falls under this category. Polluting the air, land, and sea is also violating the rights of others.  Most Libertarians also believe that peaceful people should be allowed to immigrate and live where every they what to. Taxes, "That government is best which governs least".... 

Bettina Kozlowski
Bettina Kozlowski

 @Rob Rivers the truth about the intellectual state of your fellow party men hurst, doesn't it?:) The National Geographic is just the messenger, sorry.

Jonathan Magnus
Jonathan Magnus

@Chris Crawford@Patty Brown 

Please explain why you believe deciding to keep mercury out of your home is "stupid"?

What is "stupid" is blindly following someone else.

The Florescent bulbs are toxic,  *waste* energy when often switched on and off and take several minutes to get up to full brightness in cold weather meaning you get to stumble around in the half-dark and possible fall and break a hip. How is avoiding broken bones "stupid". A hospital trip will put a lot more carbon into the air than a single incandescent bulb. 

So you are saying that Conservatives are stupid, but Radicals want children to be poisoned and old people to fall and die over their "political ideology".

Jonathan Magnus
Jonathan Magnus

@Chris Crawford@Patty Brown 

Please explain why you believe deciding to keep mercury out of your home is "stupid"?

What is "stupid" is blindly following someone else.

The Florescent bulbs are toxic,  *waste* energy when often switched on and off and take several minutes to get up to full brightness in cold weather meaning you get to stumble around in the half-dark and possible fall and break a hip. How is avoiding broken bones "stupid". A hospital trip will put a lot more carbon into the air than a single incandescent bulb. 

So you are saying that Conservatives are stupid, but non-Conservatives want children poisoned and old people to fall and die for their "political ideology".

Interesting.

Ted Dubin
Ted Dubin

@Rob Rivers @Jon Preston National Geographic has devolved from the  wonderful magazine it was, dedicated to  showing us the wonders of the world, including nature, civilization and the industries that feed, house and clothe us all. 

It's now nothing but a doom-and-gloom manifesto based on politically correct pseudo-science.  People would take it a lot more seriously if it went back to objectivity rather than pandering to a small group of environmental extremists.

Jonathan Magnus
Jonathan Magnus

@Chris Crawford @Jon Preston  

Total Cost of Ownership (both to the buyer and to the Environment) would be the best measure, but is based on information that will be kept secret.

A recent Electronics focused Blog dissected some LED lights and found poor quality parts that may limit the life to well under 5 years. This will result in a far larger Environmental impact than the label will imply.  ROHS regulations (those limiting Lead in electronics) will probably shorten the life even further.

Removing the lead will keep it out of the Environment, but will result in less reliable electronics. Looking at just one part of the life of a product is easy, but too simplistic and could end up doing a lot more harm than 'good'.

Jonathan Magnus
Jonathan Magnus

@M E 

Look up Tin Whiskers.

Sorry, it has resulted in many, many decreases in reliability. For most consumer products - who cares, most consumer electronics will get dropped in the toilet before a problem shows up. Auto and High Reliability products have been severely impacted. 

Manufacturers have been forced to recycle $millions of parts and equipment, and wasted $millions on engineering, new part qualification and research. As a Consumer, you get to pay for all of that.

The Military, NASA and medical devices are exempt from RoHS for reliability reasons. You cannot get Lead Solder in your Air Bag Sensor, but you can have it implanted in your body in your PaceMaker.  

Makes perfect sense to me.

Pay more for a less reliably product, sounds good for Business.

Products that last too long are not good from profit.

M E
M E

Despite repeated assertions by naysayers, RoHS has not generally resulted in less reliable electroncs. In fact, with millions of compliant units in the field now world-wide, the "end-of-the-world" prognosticators were wrong. Most reliability issues today are from counterfeit and the increase in complexities.

The Good News is the Bad News Was Wrong

http://www.ventureoutsource.com/contract-manufacturing/benchmarks-best-practices/rohs-environment/rohs-one-year-later-the-good-news-is-the-bad-news-was-wrong

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