Lawmakers consider bill to phase out fluorescent light bulbs, save state hundreds of millions
For Immediate Release: 10.31.23
Contact: Deirdre Cummings, dcummings@MASSPIRG.org, 978-201-6093
Lydia Churchill, firstname.lastname@example.org, 207-776-3493
Brian Fadie, email@example.com, (202) 672-1387
Lawmakers consider bill to phase out fluorescent light bulbs, save state hundreds of millions on utility bills
LED bulbs save money and energy, reduce mercury pollution
BOSTON -- Consumer, public health and environmental organizations called on Massachusetts lawmakers to phase out fluorescent light bulbs at a state legislative hearing Tuesday before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.
An Act Relative to Clean Lighting, H.777 and S.538 filed by Rep. Josh Cutler and Sen. Susan Moran, would phase out the sale of most fluorescent bulbs by 2025. By transitioning to efficient LED bulbs, we can avert needless health risks caused by the mercury found within fluorescent light bulbs, save families and businesses money on utility bills, and curb greenhouse gas emissions. A broad coalition including MASSPIRG, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Environment Massachusetts, Clean Water Action, Appliance Standards Awareness Project , and the National Stewardship Action Council supports the bill.
According to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, phasing out the sale of fluorescents in favor of LEDs could generate Massachusetts $146 million in annual electricity bill savings by 2030, and avoid a total of 954,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2050.
“Phasing out obsolete bulbs will significantly reduce our exposure to chemicals such as mercury that have shown to have severe negative impacts on our public health and our environment," said Sen. Moran, (Falmouth). “This bill will also lead to improved energy efficiency in our homes and places of work, taking a vital step forward in Massachusetts' journey towards net-zero carbon emissions.”
“This law is a win-win for Massachusetts, saving residents and businesses money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the risk of toxic mercury exposure and contamination,” said Rep. Cutler, (Duxbury).
Fluorescent light bulbs illuminate our offices, garages and basements but they contain mercury and use far more energy than newer alternatives. Mercury is a potent and persistent neurotoxin that the World Health Organization counts among the ten chemicals of most concern to public health. LEDs, which are mercury-free, are much safer. In addition, technological advancements in recent years have made LEDs more readily available and cost-effective. California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont have already passed laws phasing out the sale of fluorescents.
“It’s long past time to flip the off switch on fluorescent bulbs,” said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s legislative director. “Today is Halloween, and this bill sheds light on a scary and unnecessary source of mercury pollution in the environment and gives us the opportunity to eliminate it.”
“Fluorescent bulbs are no longer the most energy efficient option,” said Brian Fadie, State Policy Managerwith the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. “LEDs are widely available and cost-effective replacements. This is common sense policy.”
By transitioning to LEDs, Massachusetts could avoid 20 pounds of mercury waste annually by 2030, enough to contaminate 1 billion gallons of water.
“LED bulbs last longer than fluorescents, waste less energy and don’t contain toxic mercury,” said Lydia Churchill, Clean Energy Associate, Environment Massachusetts. ”When we know something can hurt our families and communities, sometimes we don’t have a simple solution, but in this case we do. We can stop selling fluorescent bulbs and switch to LEDs.”