Are Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs Being Banned?

With the sale of incandescent lightbulbs effectively banned in the US, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or CFLs, are next on the chopping block: In December 2022, the Biden administration proposed regulations that would phase out CFLs as part of its larger climate change strategy.

CFLs last much longer than traditional incandescents but still require more electricity than light-emitting diode bulbs, or LEDs.

Read on: What to Know About the Ban on Incandescent Lightbulbs 

There are also trace amounts of mercury in CFLs that can pose a hazard if the bulbs aren’t disposed of properly.

Here’s what you need to know about CFLs, including how they work, why they’re being regulated and what will take their place.

For more on lighting, here’s everything you need to know about LED lightbulbs and the best LEDs for every room in your house.

What are compact fluorescent lightbulbs?

CFLs provide illumination by way of an electric current sent through a tube filled with argon and a small amount of mercury. That current generates an invisible ultraviolet light that stimulates a fluorescent coating inside the tube, producing visible light.

While CFLs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they use 75% less energy and last 10 to 15 times longer.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, if every US household swapped just one traditional lightbulb for a CFL, the energy savings could light 3 million homes.

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