Choose the Smartest Bulb From the CFL Pack
There's also a much longer list of 1,100 bulbs it urges consumers to avoid because they don't meet stricter Energy Star standards that are expected to go into effect in July. These standards were supposed to take effect last year, but the EPA gave bulb makers a grace period for chipping away at a stockpile of 100 million bulbs they have that don't meet the new standards.
Along with obscure or foreign-made brands I've never heard of and probably wouldn't buy anyway, these blacklisted bulbs include products that are sold at Wal-Mart (WMT), Lowe's (LOW) and Home Depot (HD) or made by major manufacturers like General Electric (GE), Siemens (SI) and Philips Electronics (PHG).
The other issue with CFLs is that they contain mercury, and while it's not a lot, the EWG claims it's often more than necessary. The new Energy Star standards put a cap on mercury content for the first time. That cap is 5 milligrams -- roughly enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen, according to the EPA. For context, an old-fashioned mercury thermometer contained about 500 milligrams of the stuff.
The watchdogs at the EWG warn that one-third of bulbs on the market don't meet this standard. But they also say that manufacturers have been way ahead of the EPA on ratcheting down the mercury milligrams.National Electrical Manufacturers Association set a voluntary cap of 5 milligrams a few years ago and a lot of its manufacturers have done better than that. EPA and NEMA concur that the industrywide average for mercury in CFLs is 3 to 4 milligrams. The safest bulbs have 2.7 milligrams or less.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV