CFL bulbs do not pose a fire hazard

    OTTAWA, March 21 /CNW Telbec/ - One Change, the organization that runs
Project Porchlight, has learned of some misinformation being circulated, that
compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs pose a fire hazard. CFL bulbs do not
pose a fire hazard. "Although CFL bulbs are new to some people, they've been
around for over 20 years," said Stuart Hickox, the executive director of One
Change. "These bulbs have been vigorously tested and they are safe." The
misperception of a fire hazard potential arose because some CFL bulbs emit a
bit of smoke when they burn out, and the plastic in the ballast (bottom of the
bulb) seems to melt. According to National Geographic, this is a natural end
to the life of the bulb:

      Bulbs burn out when the ballast overheats and an electronic component,
      the Voltage Dependent Resister (VDR), opens up like a fuse in your
      home's fuse box, shutting off the circuit and generating heat and
      possibly a small amount of smoke. This might sound dangerous, but the
      VDR is a cut-off switch that prevents any hazards. The melted plastic
      you're seeing where the glass coil connects to the ballast is simply a
      sign that the heat is escaping as intended in the design of the bulb.
      (see for the full article.)

    In this article, they remind consumers to always look for the UL symbol on
your CFL bulb; this is the logo of Underwriters Laboratory, the company that
evaluates plastics for flammability characteristics. There are other ways to
determine that you are buying a good bulb. "Project Porchlight encourages
everyone to look for the ENERGY STAR logo on the packaging, the seal of
quality which means that the bulb is safe because it has undergone stringent
test procedures," continued Mr. Hickox.
    Incandescent bulbs, because they waste 95% of their energy in heat, are
much more likely to pose a fire hazard:

      Many a house fire has been started where a high wattage incandescent
      bulb was placed in a ceiling fixture. The high temperatures can
      actually melt the insulation on some older wires. Once this happens it
      is only a matter of time before electrical arcing starts a fire. CFLs
      burn at significantly lower temperatures. The fire hazard is low or

    Project Porchlight/One Change is proud to have distributed more than a
quarter million bulbs to residents across Canada. Globe Electric, Porchlight's
partner in its Ottawa campaign, specifically addresses the circumstances which
lead some people to mistakenly think that CFL bulbs present a fire hazard:

      CFLs have a unique "end-of-life" characteristic. In certain
      circumstances, a CFL may emit smoke and a melting, plastic-like odor at
      the end of its life. This is a common occurrence in all brands of CFLs
      and is not considered dangerous. (Globe Electric: Outreach, Product
      Safety Fact Sheet, winter 2005/06)

    Choosing and installing energy-efficient light bulbs, such as CFL bulbs,
is a safe and practical way Canadians can help to make Canada a healthier
country. Visit Project Porchlight's web site for more information:

    About Project Porchlight

    Project Porchlight is a campaign of One Change, a not-for-profit
organization based in Ottawa, Ontario. The campaign's goal is to mobilize
volunteers to hand-deliver one free compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) to
every household in Canada. Porchlight has delivered 250,000 bulbs in Ottawa,
and is now running campaigns in Guelph, Thunder Bay and the Yukon.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview contact: Suzanne
Fraser, (613) 260-7362, (613) 552-7277 (cel),,

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