On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 2208 into law, a landmark bill by Assemblymember Kalra and Senator Becker that sets phase out dates for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) starting in 2024. Climate, clean air, worker safety, and public and environmental health advocates applaud the move to protect Californians and the planet from the dangers of mercury containing lamps.
“We are delighted to have legislative champions in Assemblymember Ash Kalra and Senator Josh Becker who were willing to take action to remove toxic mercury from lighting which unnecessarily exposes the public and waste workers to a potent neurotoxin,” said Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of bill sponsor, the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC).
Over the past 10 years, light emitting diodes (LEDs) have become an increasingly available, cost-effective, and much more efficient lighting alternative. Because LEDs use half as much electricity as fluorescents, the bill will double lighting cost savings for Californians and protect the state from rolling blackouts caused by energy shortages.
Victoria Rome, Director of California Government Affairs for Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) shared, “In the past, despite their mercury content, fluorescent lamps were tolerated – and even promoted – because they were the most energy-efficient option at the time. But that is no longer the case. AB 2208 is an important climate protection measure that will result in significant electricity and carbon dioxide emissions savings.”
A recent market study found that by 2030, California could save over $1 billion annually on electricity bills, achieve annual electricity savings of about 5,600 gigawatt hours, and avoid the release of 950,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
California is now the second state to pass a ban on fluorescent lamps, following Vermont’s vote to phase out CFLs in 2023 and 4-foot LFLs in 2024. California, however, went further by including lamps up to 8 feet in the phase-out.
“We are excited to see California pull ahead as a global leader in clean lighting,” said Corinne Schneider of the Clean Lighting Coalition. “We hope California’s move will generate some momentum, with other states taking action to protect people and the planet from fluorescent lighting.”
Governments around the world are increasingly recognizing LEDs as the foremost lighting technology on the market today. On December 16, the European Union banned the sale of almost all mercury-containing fluorescent lamps by September 2023, and in March, 137 governments voted to phase out CFLs by 2025 through the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
As one of the biggest lighting markets in the country, the California ban signals that the US is ready to make the transition to a clean lighting economy. The US is well positioned to take a leading role in global negotiations and push for an equitable global transition to better lighting at the Minamata Convention COP5 next year.
About the Clean Lighting Coalition
The Clean Lighting Coalition is a global partnership coordinated by CLASP to capture the health and environmental benefits of eliminating mercury-based lighting. To learn more, visit www.cleanlightingcoalition.org and follow the Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About the National Stewardship Action Council
The National Stewardship Action Council was founded in 2015 as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that engages in education and advocacy work that drives a circular and equitable economy, anywhere in the U.S., and at any level of government. Our vision is that the U.S. achieve a circular and equitable economy. You can follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.