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Mr. Speaker, it's turn out the lights; the party is almost over for the incandescent lightbulb.
Four years ago, a law went into place which mandated that every lightbulb across America must be 25 percent more efficient by 2014. What this meant was that the incandescent lightbulb, Thomas Edison's greatest invention, is being banned and Americans will be forced to buy the government-selected replacement, the compact fluorescent lightbulb.
There are health risk problems with the compact fluorescent lightbulb, or the CFL as it's called. The National Institutes of Health states that fluorescent bulbs contain mercury. Now, isn't that lovely? Further, another Federal agency, the EPA, warns that the broken bulb contains mercury and will continue to release mercury vapor until it is cleaned up and removed from the room.
Mr. Speaker, I thought we were trying to get rid of mercury in our products in this country. So, in case we happen to break one of these new glass fragile lightbulbs--and I have one here and I'll be very careful not to drop it on the House floor because if I do, we'll have to evacuate the House floor. Here's what the EPA says and advises we're to do to clean up the poisonous debris in this lightbulb.
I am reading from the EPA's verbatim Web site:
Have people and pets leave the room.
Air out the room for 5 to 10 minutes by opening a window or a door to the outdoors. Now, how you do that in a high-rise, Mr. Speaker? You are to shut off the central heating and air conditioning system.
Collect materials needed to clean up the broken bulb. I guess we have to use gloves and duct tape, and place the cleanup materials in a sealable container.
Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly.
Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials inside the room.
It goes on. Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating and air conditioning system shut off for several hours.
I might note this is just a condensed instruction. The EPA has provided more detailed instructions on its Web site, and I submit this 3-page, single-spaced, typed document of over 1,000 words on how to clean up one of these lightbulbs if it's broken into the Record, Mr. Speaker.
Recently, the French have noted that CFL bulbs can harm a child's vision because they contain arsenic, among other poisons, and the German scientists have found that these CFL bulbs can also cause cancer. Now, isn't that odd--that these bulbs mandated by the Federal Government actually are harmful to our health?
We should forget school lunches, Mr. Speaker. We now need to worry about our children's eyesight because of the lighting they sit under every day in a classroom, all thanks to the blind Federal Government. The Federal Government's anti-energy, anti-consumer choice regulation leaves Americans no other option but to purchase and use a harmful, poisonous product. If that's not reason enough to get rid of these bulbs, here's another one.
None of these bulbs are made in the U.S.A. You look very carefully on every one of these bulbs, they will say, Made in China. That's right. Our good buddies, the Chinese, make all of these bulbs. The last factory in the United States that made incandescent lightbulbs closed down September 14, 2010. This ended a manufacturing industry that began all the way back to Thomas Edison.
So these job-producing lightbulb factories have been shipped off to China and now to Mexico, leaving even more Americans out of work. In fact, the lightbulb that I just read off of says that it is made in China, and it's in several languages, of course.
So the Federal Government imposed a burdensome, harmful-to-your-health regulation. An American factory closed. Jobs moved overseas. We've sort of heard this story before.
But there's a bright spot to this sad tale. Just yesterday, the State of Texas passed a law that protects Texans from this absurd abuse of Federal power. The law will allow Texans to continue to buy incandescent bulbs that are made in the State of Texas, keeping the government out of people's lives and keeping jobs in America--even if it is in Texas.
And let's not forget that this regulation is unconstitutional. The Federal Government does not have the authority to force anybody to buy anything, from health care insurance to a box of doughnuts or even a light bulb, especially if the light bulb is hazardous to America's health. Nowhere in the Constitution does the Federal Government have such abuse of power.
So it's time we repeal the unconstitutional job-killing, bad-for-your-health light bulb mandate. Otherwise, it looks like we'll be singing the party's over for the incandescent light bulb. Because they say that all good things must end. Call it a night. The party's over. And tomorrow starts the same old thing again.
And that's just the way it is.
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