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 the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC), sponsor of the bill.
Over the last 10 years, light emitting diodes (LEDs) have become an increasingly available, cost-effective, and much more efficient lighting solution. Because LED retrofit lamps produce the same illumination as fluorescents but use half as much electricity, this new law will cut California’s lighting energy bills in half and protect the state from rolling blackouts caused by electricity shortages.
“AB 2208 will result in even more efficient energy use in our homes and businesses, reduced electricity bills, as well as reductions in both carbon and toxic pollution,” said Victoria Rome, Director of California Government Affairs for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
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 applaud the leadership being shown by the State of California, transitioning away from toxic mercury-based light sources in favor of clean, efficient and cost-effective LED technology,” said Corinne Schneider, Chief Communications and Development Officer at CLASP. “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. In December 2021, the European Union banned the sale of almost all mercury-containing fluorescent lamps by September 2023, and in March 2022, 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 new California law 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 You Tube.