Loophole Allows Company to Make, Sell Incandescent Light Bulbs After 2014

Though the popular 40- or 60-watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be manufactured after January 1, 2014, a man whose grandfather was friends with Thomas Edison found a loophole in the federal law that will legally allow him to make incandescent light bulbs that Americans can still purchase. 

Larry Birnbaum said that when the federal government "decided to ban incandescent lightbulbs, they left a loophole in the law" for what are known as "rough service" light bulbs. 

According to Fox News, the 2007 law "forces manufacturers to improve the energy efficiency of ordinary bulbs dramatically: 40W bulbs must draw just 10.5W, and 60W bulbs 11W, and incandescents simply can’t do that."

The law has a variety of exceptions, though, for "for specialty lighting, including bulbs with unusual bases, others meant for special display purposes, and rough service bulbs."

Birnbaum described a "rough service" bulb as one that "can take a beating, one meant for industrial purposes -- imagine a lightbulb on a subway car, built to survive the jostling and vibrations of  the daily commute." He said that they work like normal bulbs and, as Fox News noted, "consumers can buy them and screw them into any ordinary lamp socket."

Birnbaum applied for a permit to build the bulbs in 2010 and, after a tedious and bureaucratic process, he finally got approval to make his "Newcandescents" bulbs, which "began shipping in 2010 -- made in America, at a plant outside of Indianapolis by around two dozen employees."

Birnbaum said that he received over $100,000 worth of orders after an appearance on the Rush Limbaugh show in 2012. 

“You’d be shocked how many people still want incandescents,” he told Fox News.

Of the LED bulbs, he said, “People don’t like the color, the fact that they don’t go on right away, the fact that they have mercury.” Studies have shown the the LEDs not only cost more, but are much "more likely to leak UV light compared to traditional fluorescent bulbs, causing damage to healthy human skin cells."

According to Fox News, Home Depot sells a "six pack of 60-Watt incandescents from GE for $4.67, or 78 cents apiece. A six-pack of 60-Watt LEDs from Cree sells for $77.82 -- $12.97 each."

Newcandescents, which "run on 130 volts rather than 120, meaning they last longer on the lower voltages," are available at various retail stores and supermarkets and can also be purchased online. The bulbs sell for about $1.44 apiece. 

A lot of Newcandescents purchases are coming from the South, and Birnbaum emphasized that Americans are addicted to the color of the incandescent bulbs. He said the color Americans are accustomed to is "very difficult to replicate" and "virtually impossible" in the LEDs and CFLs.


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