A Toxic Act

by Linda Kirker

For one hundred years, Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb has been our friend, lighting our homes and other buildings.

In less than one year from now, we will no long have the option to purchase these round light bulbs. Why? In 2007, Congress passed the “Energy Independence and Security Act” wherein “standards” will start eliminating 276 versions of incandescent light bulbs in 2012. Your favorite 100 watt light bulb will be no more.

Oh, be sure to thank your Congressmen for forcing you to purchase more expensive CFL’s (compact fluorescent lamps- the curly ones) so that you can be coerced to help “save the planet” by allegedly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

CFL’s are quite toxic because of the MERCURY in the glass tubing. The EPA warns that if we break a CFL, we must bring the pieces to a recycling center. You are also advised not to launder clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in clothing may contaminate the washing machine and/or pollute sewerage. I wonder who will be libel when a child breaks a CFL and is exposed to mercury.

CFL’s do not work well in colder temperatures and cannot handle dimmer switches. They also give off very little heat, so plan to turn up your thermostat and use more fuel.

The goal of Congress does not appear to help Americans. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), has issued ninety-one pages of regulations to force manufacturers to revise package labeling of CFL’s in an effort to make them more appealing to reluctant consumers. Instead of listing the bulb wattage, they will list the lumen leaving customers wondering what they are purchasing for lighting output.

One thing you can be sure of: while you are forced to buy expensive, mercury-laden, poorly labeled CFL light bulbs, businesses will be exporting more jobs to China where they benefit from cheap labor. GE has already closed factories in Kentucky and Ohio and recently shut down a light bulb factory in Winchester, Virginia, where two hundred Americans had been employed. Through this legislation, Congress has encouraged businesses to close down shop in the United States to create jobs abroad while taking away our option to purchase incandescent light bulbs. Is this an effort to fit in with the Global Community at our expense?

So, who is Congress working for? Surely they are not protecting our borders or our economic security. Please contact Senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch to let them know that they should stop changing light bulbs and instead become good stewards of our national safety by protecting us from enemies outside and within the U.S. Sometimes it feels like Congress is the enemy of the people. Those who have sat in Congress for many years and consider themselves to be influential, bear a huge responsibility for the scary situation this country is in.

We have entrusted our elected officials with our economy and yet the U.S. borrows forty cents of every dollar ispends. Our country has debt of over $14 Trillion dollars that continues to climb . We are paying $4.7 Billion dollars in interest on our debt DAILY! Those sitting in Washington, D.C. need to take bold steps NOW. The spending spree must stop. What they are doing is a disgrace and a disservice to you, me, our children and grandchildren. We need representatives who can see the LIGHT!

Linda Kirker, former Essex Junction State Representative

Georgia, Vermont