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EU light-bulb ban - but you can still buy them. How is this possible?

     Everyone has surely heard about the controversial European Union (EU) light bulb ban. EU argues their low efficiency. Such a prohibition is in (i hope) democratic countries very weird - after all everyone can decide for whether pay extra for electricity, or use more efficient light source. To limit the use of light bulbs only to places where they can not be replaced, therefore, education of consumers could be enough. In some places you really can not replace the incadescent bulbs with something like energy-saving compact light bulbs or it does not make sense (it is not wotht the invested money). Example is blinking signal light (traffic lights), bulb in the oven, bulbs in places where lights up for a short time (stairs, corridors, toilet), because Compact fluorescent bulbs lights dim after turning on and needs a several minutes to reach full brightness. Compact fluorescent light bulbs do not substitute the ordinary ones also due to poor quality of light. I can not imagine compact fluorescent lamps in places such as galleries, theaters and so on. The quality of light is the most obvious for example when lighting wooden surfaces. Compare wood under the incadescent bulb and the energy saving one. Compact fluorescent lights also work poor in cold conditions (lighting gardens, garages, refrigerators ...), do not fit into spotlight and due to the larger size and different shape compared to incadescent bulbs they do not fit into some lamps. Saving units are unsuitable because of mercury even where there is a risk of breakage (construction sites, workshops, etc.) and can not be dimmed. Their aesthetic quality does not even have to be mentioned. There are also halogen bulbs - a little more efficient and many times more expensive than ordinary bulbs. For rarely or briefly used lamps (basement, attic, WC, garage, hallway) the investment does not return (and after 2016 the prohibition will also apply to them).
     Despite all this, the EU has decided simply ban the light bulbs. Its regulation are generally very absurd. It prohibits thermometers due to toxic mercury, but on the other hand, it forces us to replace the banned bulbs (which contain no hazardous substances) by energy saving bulbs that contain mercury and toxic luminifor. Similar is the absurd pseudo-ecological ban on leaded solder in circuit boards of appliances. Lead-free solder significantly reduces their lifespan and leads to an increase in the volume of electronic waste. Another paradox is that the lead in the appliance must not be used (for example, in the TV there's only a few grams of lead) but car batteries containing several kilograms of lead, are not prohibited.
     But back to the bulbs. We will look closely at the theory and practice of their senseless ban. From 1 September 2009, the sale of bulbs gradually reduced in several steps according Commission Regulation (EC) No 244/2009 of household lamps. Below is a detailed schedule of gradually banning. Now (2013) we are at the stage where they are banned all traditional bulbs. As is clear from the title of this senseless regulation, it applies only on light sources and, moreover, only the household ones. This is quite significant detail. This has allowed manufacturers of bulbs to work around this absurd non-market regulation and restore the free market. Incadescent light bulbs are sold again. Some manufacturers have used the fact that bulbs as light sources are banned, and began selling the bulb under the name Heat Ball. A useful output it is not light but the heat. Other manufacturers have used the fact that the ban only applies to household lamps, and sell lamps for industrial use, not suitable for household lighting. They are exactly the same bulbs, differing only in the text on the box. Doing this clever step the manufacturers rescued not only their income, but also customers who can not do without bulbs, thus saving a bit of democracy. First rumors said that these new bulbs will be ridiculously expensive (cca 10x more then before) but it turned out that it is still possible to buy them for the same price as before. See the pictures below.

Schedule for ban on incandescent lamps by Commission Regulation (EC) No 244/2009


Heat Balls. No mention of the fact that it may be a light bulb. These are convectors (heaters) suitable for vivariums and incubators. Strange thing is that there is still shown class E. In the picture is an example of BC Heat Balls 100W and 75W. Life or luminous flux are not listed. Voltage 220 ​​- 240V. Price 8.90 and 6.90 CZK.


Shock proof 60W light bulb made by TES-LAMPS for industrial use, not suitable for lighting in household. According to parameters (710lm, 1000h) it is a standard bulb. Unlike Heat Balls customer can be sure, that life time won't be increased at the expense of luminous flux. Price is 6.90 CZK (not more than most of the pre-ban bulbs).



Added: 1. 6. 2013
Mercury thermometer ban - what is the best replacement?
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