Pres. Trump, light bulbs don’t cause people to look orange

(NRDC News, 16 Sep 2019) President Trump has been talking a lot lately about light bulbs and complaining that they make people look orange, are toxic, and cost too much. He’s sadly mistaken on all fronts. Let’s correct the record.

Consumers are very happy with LEDs

Talking about energy-efficient light bulbs, the president has said the “light is the worst” and “that we all take on an orange tone under the lights.” Everyday light bulbs do not cause people to look orange. The Washington Post debunked the president’s claim, showing that blaming light bulbs for his orange skin tone doesn’t hold up. The president might be confusing things and referring to the compact fluorescent lamp or CFLs. Some consumers never liked CFL’s light quality, but these bulbs have now all but been supplanted by even-more-energy-efficient LEDs in the market. In fact, the big lighting company General Electric made the business decision to stop manufacturing CFLs in 2016.   

If the president is really referring to today’s LED light bulbs, his opinions conflict with the US Department of Energy’s website which says: “Quality LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting.” More importantly, his views conflict with consumers who are shifting to LEDs in droves. For the standard pear-shaped light bulb, more than half of current sales are LEDs, up from only a few percent a few short years ago.

Consumers really like today’s LED light bulbs because they give off great light in any shade a consumer wants and help reduce utility bills. Well over a billion LED bulbs have been sold in the US to date. Look at the consumer reviews on a retailer’s website like and one will quickly see how happy buyers are with their performance and quality. Most of the LED bulbs have a rating of around 4.5 out of 5, which is extremely high for any product.

LEDs are completely safe to use

The president also said, “If it breaks, it’s considered a hazardous waste site. It’s gases inside.” Once again, the president probably was referring to the now-dying CFL technology. These old bulbs did contain very low levels of mercury inside them. But, LED bulbs do NOT contain mercury or other harmful chemicals.

The president is trying to scare people into thinking they are going to have to buy a CFL and that’s simply not true.

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NRDC News, 16 Sep 2019: Pres. Trump, light bulbs don’t cause people to look orange