CFL Bulbs Made and Sold in China are Defective

GE Compact flourescent bulb, Made in China

GE Compact flourescent bulb, Made in China

My brothers in China have purchased 2 Philips brand compact flourescent bulbs from Walmart China, one which burned out after only a month and another which burned out in less than a week. These bulbs should last for 10,000 hours, or over 6 years. His case is well documented.

___He paid 30.80RMB each, for a total of 61.60RMB, for which he received 1 month and 1 week’s worth of light, all in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. Due to terrible quality control in Philip’s China factory these bulbs were shipped to Walmart stores in China, where my brother purchased them and was cheated. That is a lot of money to lose.

___I purchased GE compact flourescent bulbs here in Canada, similar to the ones pictured here. The older version of these bulbs were rated for 14,000 hours. At 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, they should last 5 years. I kept my receipt. After only 2 years my bulb burned out, so I called up GE in Canada, and explained that my bulb burned out prematurely. They sent me a coupon for a free replacement bulb.

GE Compact Flourescent Bulb, Made in China

GE Compact Flourescent Bulb, Made in China

___The compact flourescent bulbs pictured here are the newer version of the same GE bulbs but rated at 10,000 hours. At 8 hours a day, 365 days a year they should last me 3.5 years. They were purchased at Walmart, here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If they burn out prematurely I will call GE for free replacements. These bulbs are made in China, where my brother lives.

___I hope that my brother in China can either return his bulbs to Walmart for a full refund or he can call up Philips in China and get free replacements for his bulbs. It is bad business for Philips to sell bulbs in China that are of bad quality. Philips has a world wide reputation as a high quality manufacturer, but when my brother in China gets cheated, then why should I here in Canada purchase Philips products? Maybe I will also get cheated?

___The internet makes the world smaller. While I am separated from my brother by half the globe and a time difference of 12 hours, I will not purchase any Philips product here in Canada until my brother in China can resolve his Philips issues. I ask that others In China, Canada and around the world to also not purchase Philips products. I think this is only fair.

7 thoughts on “CFL Bulbs Made and Sold in China are Defective

  1. David Ing

    We bought compact fluorescent bulbs for our house, but I was finding that (a) I was having problems reading with them, and (b) the changed color spectrum really bothered me. We have gone back to incandescent bulbs in many places in the house, and haven’t changed from the halogen lights that we have elsewhere.

    I’m worried that compact florescent lights use mercury as a component, and mercury is a hazard to human health. In theory, dead bulbs should be returned to retailers for recycling, but I’m sure that most people won’t remember to do this. It’s a big enough challenge that people don’t always sort garbage into organics, paper, recyclable plastics and junk for landfills that I’m sure that we’ll be worried about seeping mercury in landfills some years from now.

  2. dontai Post author

    I do like CF bulbs but there are certainly negatives. They do cost 10 times more to purchase, and there is no true guarantee they will last 10,000 hours as advertised. Traditional florescents put out cool white light, which turns our skin a sickly colour. Warm white CFs have more pleasing light. Because of their long life it certainly is more convenient to use in areas where the bulb is inaccessible or difficult to change.

    There does seem to be a growing electromagnetic (EM) radiation issues that may contribute to migranes and other ailments. British health officials have warned that “the new bulbs could worsen existing skin conditions, like eczema and dermatitis. Skin disorders that are photosensitive could react to the more intense light of fluorescent bulbs, which emit UV rays similar to outdoor exposure levels on a sunny day. Britain’s Health Protection Agency now recommends that people should not be closer than 30 centimetres from the energy-saving variety for more than one hour per day.” I think I stay away from my CFs more than 30cms.

    I’ve not noticed any issues with increased migranes, em or UV-related ailments. Then again we only use CFs in lights we have on for hours at a time.

    Both the British and Canadian governments are set to ban incandescent bulbs soon, Canada in 2012. Australia will ban them in 2010. New studies done in colder climates (Manitoba) suggest that the extra heat generated by incandescent bulbs contributes to heating of houses. A switch to the cooler CFs will see an increase in home heating costs. Maybe the solution is to use incandescent in the winter and CFs in the summer. I still believe that using our natural gas furnace to heat our house is more efficient than using lightbulbs.

    Disposal is still an issue with CF bulbs. Mercury does not break down quickly. While we have hazardous waste disposal here in North America, what does China and other countries have? Is it worse to displose of 10 incandescent bulbs or 1 CF bulb?

  3. Pingback: Happy Earth Day 2009! Let’s Celebrate! | Junk Activism

  4. tsa algerie

    Great article, I’m an avid reader of your blog, keep up the great work, and I’ll be a regular visitor for a very long time.

  5. rushton dinha

    hir sir im looking for cfl bulbs in 11watts, 15watts and 18watts and the cfl bulbs should have a lamplife of 15000hrs and should have not more than 5mg of MERCURY CONTENT

  6. Philip

    This is not necessarily a quality control issue. Variables out of the control of the manufacturer, such as voltage spikes from the utility company or a lighting strike can cause electronics, including compact fluorescent lamps, to fail. All fluorescent lamps will also burn out prematurely if they are switched on and off too many times, for example: If this lamp were placed on a defective occupancy sensor that turned the lamp on and off repeatedly, this could shorten lamp life. Another possible reason for failure is if the lamps were installed inside an enclosed fixture, which would allow the ambient air inside the fixture to increase beyond recommended temperatures. All electronics are negatively affected by heat. The only way to positively identify the issue would be to eliminate the other possible causes.

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