“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 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.