Incandescent light bulb ban starts Jan. 1

Above: The arrival of a new year always brings new changes, and this year there a few that could cost you. Shirlee Engel explains.

TORONTO – If you’re a fan of incandescent light bulbs, you better start stocking up on those 75 and 100 watt bulbs.

Beginning January 1, there will be a ban on the incandescent light bulbs, followed by a ban of the 40 watt to 60 watt bulbs on December 31, 2014.

This isn’t a new ban, but rather one that has been in the works since 2007. In 2011, the Government of Canada decided to allow consumers, as well as the lighting industry, to prepare for the new standards, and introduced a phase-out rather than an all-out ban.

Though concerns have been raised about the bulbs that will replace them, the compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), do not pose a health hazard, according to Health Canada.

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One of the concerns surrounding CFLs includes ultraviolet radiation (UV). However, on its website Health Canada, reported that all light bulbs emit some sort of radiation.

A study by Health Canada found that with both CFLs and incandescent light bulbs used at a distance of 30 cm or more, the UV emissions don’t pose a health risk to the general population.

“Health Canada recommends that people keep this minimum distance between themselves and any light source,” Health Canada recommended on its website. “When CFLs or regular bulbs are used daily at 30 cm, exposure should be limited to no longer than 3 consecutive hours.”

As for what this means to the environment, CFLs use about one-quarter of the energy that incandescent bulbs do. They also have a very long lifespan — about 6,000 to 15,000 hours compared to 750 to 1,000 for the traditional incandescent bulbs.

“Lighting accounts for approximately 10 percent of a home’s electricity use, so replacing old incandescent bulbs with new efficient bulbs can make a big difference,” Joshua Kirkey, Communications Advisor with Natural Resources Canada said in an email to Global News. “Lighting standards save Canadians money: energy efficient bulbs last as long as or longer, and use less electricity, than traditional incandescent bulbs.”

The ban also means that Canada and the United States will be have the same regulations, which the government believes will increase competitiveness in the marketplace.

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“This will also align Canadian standards with the United States, making it easier for Canadian business and industry to supply an integrated North American market,” said Kirkey.

As for disposing of the light bulbs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of retailers that will recycle CFLs.

“Environment Canada is developing measures that set limits for mercury content in compact fluorescent lamps and require labels about their safe disposal,” a media representative from Environment Canada told Global News in an email. The agency is “also considering options for the management of mercury-containing lamps when they become waste.”

Provinces such as British Columbia, Manitoba, and Quebec have CFL disposal programs and according to Home Depot’s website, the company is modifying its recycling program to reflect the new ban.

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