A Bright Idea: Trump Rule Saves Incandescent Lights

DOE Halts Regulation That Made Traditional Edison-Style Bulbs Too Expensive

Washington, D.C. – By ending further regulation of incandescent light bulbs, the Trump Administration has effectively saved Thomas Edison’s creation, which has illuminated the world cheaply and efficiently for over a century. The National Center for Public Policy Research praises this regulatory reform, calling it a health benefit as well as good news to those who appreciate aesthetic lighting.

David Almasi

David W. Almasi

“Thank you to the Trump Administration for preserving the simple Edison light bulb. Thank you for preventing regulation that would have made this staple too expensive for today’s families. And thank you for giving people respite from alternative lighting that puts their health at risk,” said National Center Vice President David W. Almasi. “Progressively stringent Obama-era regulation ignored common needs. This reform acknowledges the needs of modern families while embracing innovation for a better tomorrow.”

A U.S. Department of Energy analysis determined that escalating consumer lighting standards would end production of incandescent bulbs because they would become prohibitively expensive – an estimated price increase of 300%. The Trump Administration’s new ruling prevents any further enforcement of energy efficiency standards for lighting without verification that increased costs for bulbs are justified by a greater benefit. The Trump Administration will continue to fund research into new technologies such as light-emitting diode (LED) lighting to promote efficiency without using regulation to change behavior.

The survival of incandescent lighting is likely to reap health benefits as well. Compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) – a common alternative to incandescent bulbs – contain toxic mercury, have been known to cause insomnia, and can have a flicker effect that is potentially harmful to those with autism, epilepsy or a traumatic brain injury. In Psychology Today, Dr. Victoria L. Dunckley wrote: “[I]f energy efficient bulbs increase mental and physical disease burden – even if by a small amount – the collective cost to public health to use them may be enormous.”

Additionally, CFL and LED bulbs are considered inferior or unusable for dimming and in decorative lighting such as chandeliers. Alternative bulbs often cannot provide the same aesthetic effect of traditional incandescent bulbs.

“Light bulbs shouldn’t make you sick,” Almasi said. “Forcing people to use bulbs that could pose a health risk is madness. Regulatory reform for light bulbs is a bright idea.”

The National Center and its Project 21 black leadership network both recently signed onto a public comment supporting an end to rising energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. The comment, written by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and sent to the U.S. Department of Energy, noted: “Consumers are best served by retaining the choice between incandescent bulbs and LEDs rather than regulating incandescents off the market.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Contributions are tax-deductible and may be earmarked for the Free Enterprise Project. Sign up for email updates here.

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The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.