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Also reports of people suffering migraines from them
and also they don't save you
75-80% more like 50% than normal lights.


Well Ian, I am surprised you didn't label this as ANOTHER LABOUR PARTY STOLEN POLICY as this policy has already been implemented by that well known nanny state free market fundamentalist John Winston Howard.

Not that that makes it right either, but keep things in perspective - its not just Labour in NZ that is in thrall to the latest incarnation of The Search for a Black Tulip


I'm off to the warehouse to buy a pallet of bulbs. Should last me twenty years.

Boohoo, greeny fools.


Our family are going to remove the mercury lamps we have installed: the mercury risk is too great for the kids. Besides being a touch Irish, I'm don't feel like complying with Nanny's whims.
The mercury lamps are deficient too in red and in winter red seems to make feel and function better.

If I really want to make the place bright a 150 watt halogen works.

Perhaps we could send the Liabour government our old CFL's as a donation; the mercury might just do it.


This is all a lot of rot. How often does a light bulb get broken? They come in a range of colours, I have all the warm coloured ones in my house and I installed them in every room three or four years ago. They are NOT "inherently unsafe in domestic situations". Fluorescent lighting is well established. I disagree that the government is outlawing standard bulbs but I also disagree with your ill informed scaremongering.


"Also reports of people suffering migraines from them
and also they don't save you
75-80% more like 50% than normal lights."

They did more than give me headaches. This was before I knew the bulbs contained mercury. I already was suffering from mercury poisoning and those bulbs were the final straw that nearly killed me!

Every evening when the lights were turned on for awhile and I'd sit down to have my evening meal. Used to sit with one of them directly over my head at the dining table. After I'd finish my dinner I was having collapses, burning sensations, numbness, body weakness, etc. To cut a long story short once I found out those bulbs contained mercury Immediately replaced them with conventional light bulbs and now my health problems have noticably improved.

Even my Doctor was shocked to find out those energy efficient bulbs contained mercury.


* Using dimmer switches make them more prone to failure

* Health issues

* Environmental issues arising from disposal

* Failure to fit certain spaces due to overall size

* Different quality of light

* Not as efficient as claimed (typically claimed as up to 80% more efficient)

* Work better being left on longer, rather than short duration usage.

Which of these do you dispute Swampy?

The key point here though is suggesting banning other light bulbs, and then also all the additional legislation generated to cope with exceptions to the ban list, and finally the effect of supply cost once sales are severely restricted of standard bulbs.

Hopefully the light has gone off for voters - we don't want a Nanny State.

Fairfacts Media

There is much global evidence of the risks and dangers of these lightbulbs as I posted on No Minister yesterday morning, featuring stories of the hassles it takes to safely clean up one of these bulbs.
The dangers have also been covered by the BBC as well as our own TVNZ at the start of the year.
Yet the government presses ahead with its ideological policies with scarcely a thought to public opinion or the realities of what it is doing.
If it takes banning of lightbulbs to make people finally see the light, on top of everything else Larbour has done, then I guess some good has come out of this dictatorial move.

david w


You remain, along with Ian and Zen, wrong on this one.

The amount of mercury in these lamps is tiny (~1-4mg) and not enough to be an acute health hazard (acid's anecdotal evidence seems a bit misdirected Hg doesn't sublime while the bulb is working).

The environmental effects are also pretty infinitesimal, working on the back on an envelope the Huntly Power station made enough mercury for 40 million lamps last year. (And FWIW you can get CFLs that cast warmer shades and are compatible with dimmers)

You might be right that people, being people, will be upset they can't buy light bulbs like Edison made but lets not get shrill and alarmist about the 'risks' please.


The gubmint says there is no risk. So will you all just shut it and do what they say.

They'd also like to direct your attention to how proud they are to have brought you the EFA - a moment of utter brilliance in their collective thinking.

I repeat, the gubmint says there is no risk. It's been well thought out. Nothing will go wrong. There wil be no unintended consequences. You are ordered to obey without resistence. OBEY!


SWAMPY..You stated there would be few breakages.I have about eight of these bulbs installed not knowing they contained mercury. I had one explode when the light was switched on.I also accidentally smashed one I was using as a reading lamp beside the computer and had a helluva job extracting the shattered shaft from the socket.


David W: The amount of mercury in these lamps is tiny (~1-4mg) and not enough to be an acute health hazard (acid's anecdotal evidence seems a bit misdirected Hg doesn't sublime while the bulb is working)

The average amount of mercury in a CFL is about 4mg (some of the newer, more expensive ones go as low as 1.4mg). The average child's bedroom is about 20 cubic meters. A broken bulb would therefore contaminate the room to the tune of 0.2mg/cuM. This is four times the recommended maximum of 0.05mg/cuM.

Mercury vapour is also very heavy and rapidly sinks to the lower half of the room, further concentrating the vapour.

None of this is a real problem if you immediately evacuate the room and ventilate it well. The mercury usually dissipates in about an hour. However, it is not hard to envisage a child breaking a bulb and not telling his/her parent until the following day, thus receiving a significant dose. It is also not hard to conceive of entire families not knowing the hazard, who simply vacuum up the gas, like an incandescent bulb, and fail to evacuate or aerate the room.

Interesting to see what the tissue mercury levels are like of the NZ population in 10 years time.


David, I outlined 7 points that I had picked up as criticisms of these bulbs.

You appear to be saying the health and environmental risks are infinitesimal.

We appear to have anecdotal evidence disputing this in at least degrees.

Perhaps my other points are also salient?

Whatever decided on my first 7 points, the one that matters most to me is the additional point: I am against the government legislating for this, for several reasons.

One reason especially is that the consumer should have the right to choose what is best for their circumstances. If these bulbs are of benefit, people will switch to them.

I have a mixture of them in my house. If I'm being shrill, its for other reasons than you ascribe.

Shane Ponting

Whilst I have CFLs in my house (the toilet only needs a 5 watt model! Talk about low power usage), I agree with ZenTiger that the consumer should be able to choose.

What I'm really looking forward to is L.E.D lights (which have broken the 100 lumens per watt barrier) being produced as drop in 240V replacements.

david w


The level you quote is for chronic exposure - the amount that a healthy person could stand for 40hrs a week without ill-effect. The suggested level for acute exposure is 3mg/cuM (every drop of Hg in a lamp subliming into a box and someone jumping inside that box?) Unless people, bereft of incandescents, try and use CFL's to smoke P on a daily basis we should be OK...


You appear to be saying the health and environmental risks are infinitesimal.

We appear to have anecdotal evidence disputing this in at least degrees.

And of course, the plural of anecdote is data ;). Perhaps I was too sweeping in my denunciation of everyone as shrill - I am just depressed to see so much misinformed hysteria from those on the right side of life about this topic.

People that spend their lives complaining the government won't burn more coal and deriding "warming-ists" then claim bulbs with 1/40 000 000th the mercury produced by one power plant are going to be an environmental disaster. I'm just waiting to here something about autism...

I find it very hard to get excited about the erosion of my rights to buy 19th century lights - I'll let the political chaps deal with that one - it's the lack of reason disturbs me.


Good grief! They covered the EPA recommendations on TV the other day, and they talked about throwing away anything that had contact with a cleanup of these bulbs.

If you think these things are safe when they break, you could not be more wrong. I've read online about cases where people have had to pay for full blown environmental cleanups costing thousands of dollars after a bulb being broken.


Resistance is a filament of your imagination.


Newer designs of bulbs use an extremely small amount of mercury in a safe amalgam instead of the liquid mercury used in older bulbs so the latest designs are much safer from the older ones.

Fact is - fluorescent lighting has been around for decades, if it was inherently unsafe zillions of people who work under fluorescents every day would have their health affected yet clearly this is not the case. There is nothing inherently different about CFLs that makes them more dangerous than existing fluorescent lighting.

If you do not break the bulb there is no risk at all.

" An environmental clean-up crew needs be called in to deal with the mercury dispersed by one broken CFL bulb: False."

Now perhaps someone who claims that it costs $2000 to clean up is quoting an urban legend as referenced on Snopes' site. Basically the woman was paranoid so she sealed the room up herself refusing the offers from the government to clean it up FOR FREE, eventually they did manage to get in to clean the house up for her. The $2000 is what a contractor quoted to do the work.


OK, for the fellow who cites electromagnetic radiation (EMR) - do you have electric power in your house, because every electrical appliance in your house produces EMR as well as all the wires in the walls. There is only one web page you reference that makes this claim, with no corroboration.

So far as safe disposal goes, the government is already developing a nationwide recycling program, see

In that BBC article you have even Greenpeace saying CFLs are a good idea.

How about putting the risks of a broken bulb in perspective with lots of other similar levels of hazard around your house?

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