The incandescent light bulb, first invented by Thomas Edison over a century ago, has officially seen the end of its long run, as new regulations implemented by Congress phase out the manufacture and import of the popular item. The regulations were imposed in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence Act signed into law by President George W. Bush.
The new year brings a ban on 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs. The ban on 100-watt and 75-watt varieties had already been implemented.
The bulbs will replaced on the market by compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and “light-emitting diodes” (LEDs). The new bulbs last longer and use less energy, regulators say, which will help in the fight against carbon dioxide emissions.
The incandescent bulbs will not disappear overnight, however, as stores still have stocks of them on hand, which they are allowed to sell until they run out. One byproduct of the ban on incandescent bulbs is the closure of a GE factory in Virginia that employed 200 Americans. CFL and LEDs are mainly produced in China, critics note.