Bill to phase out toxic fluorescent light bulbs clears final legislative hurdle, heads to governor’s desk

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SALEM, Ore. – A bill to phase out the sale of new fluorescent light bulbs that contain toxic mercury passed its final concurrence vote in the Oregon House on Thursday. The bill now heads to Governor Kotek’s desk for her signature. 

House Bill 2531 would protect Oregonians from the unnecessary threat of mercury exposure from breakages of mercury-containing fluorescent lamps while also saving consumers money on utility bills. It also serves as a climate protection initiative, accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy through increased use of energy-efficient LED lighting solutions.

LED light bulbs, which are twice as energy efficient as fluorescent bulbs, are expected to gradually take over, resulting in Oregon residents and businesses saving $49 million annually in electricity bill savings by 2030 if the bill is signed.

Legislators and advocates celebrated the passage of this bill and released the following statements:

“Passage of HB 2531 will help Oregon in our fight against climate change,” stated Representative Pam Marsh (HD 5), who managed the bill in her House Climate, Energy and Environment committee. “By 2050, the bill will prevent the release of 516,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of 111,000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year.” 

“We no longer have to make the trade-off of efficient lighting versus an environmental hazard,” said Senator Janeen Sollman (SD-15), who carried the bill on the Senate floor. “House Bill 2531 phases out the use of fluorescent lamps as we now have better options to choose from, with newer LED light bulb technology that is even more efficient, has even longer lifespans and without dangerous mercury.”

“With other states adopting similar legislation to phase out fluorescent light bulbs, it makes sense for Oregon to do the same,” noted Jeff Bissonnette, with the NW Energy Coalition. “Some say the market will make the transition to LED bulbs on its own. All we are doing is accelerating the process and delivering value to consumers at the same time.”

“We can save energy and reduce our exposure to toxic mercury,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director of Environment Oregon. “The bill passed by the legislature today will help protect the health and safety of Oregonians for years to come, and we urge Governor Kotek to sign it.”

“Market analysis has shown LEDs are now widely available and cost effective as replacements for fluorescent light bulbs,” said Brian Fadie, state policy manager with Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). “Other states like California, Colorado, and Vermont have also begun phasing out common fluorescent light bulbs because they recognize this transition is a win-win. It’s time for Oregon to join them.”