Remember all those TV segments and magazine articles that had a list of 10 things you can do to save the planet from the perils of global warming? More likely than not, one of things you were urged to do was to switch all you incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
And, if you didn't heed their advice, the government's forcing you to through the legislative process. Congress banned the incandescent light bulbs in the energy bill signed into law by former President George W. Bush on Dec. 19, 2007. The bill increases efficiency standards and effectively bans traditional bulbs by 2014.
However, a segment by Washington, D.C. CBS affiliated WUSA on March 30 reported these CFLs were responsible for a fire at the home of Rick Jenkins, a resident of Cumberland, Md.
"Last year, Rick Jenkins and his family raced from a Sunday brunch to find their split-level Cumberland home engulfed in a raging inferno," WUSA's Lesli Foster said. "Jenkins was stunned when investigators told him what sparked those flames - a compact fluorescent bulb connected to a dimmer switch."
According to the report CFLs aren't designed to be used with a dimmer switch - a detail not often disclosed when media sources celebrate how wonderful the soon-to-be government-mandated bulbs are.
"It's not designed to be used with a dimmer switch," Capt. Dale Ednock of the Prince George's County, Md. Fire and EMS Department said to WUSA. "The ballast itself is designed to operate at a specific voltage. If you fluctuate that, it can cause the ballast to fail."
One example of media accolades for the bulbs came on the Jan. 23, 2008 NBC "Today" show on Jan. 23, 2008. All in the name of preventing anthropogenic global warming - the bulbs were featured on the "Today Goes Green" series as one way average Americans can adjust their lives to be more "environmentally friendly."
"If every American home replaced just one incandescent bulb with a CFL, in one year it would save enough energy to light more than three million American homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 800,000 cars," co-host Meredith Vieira said.