Latest Stories

The Consumer

CFL: It saves on energy, but must be handled with care


The nongovernment environmental organization Ban Toxics! has just released the results of a comparative analysis of different compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) sold in the Philippines.

CFLs are replacing the old incandescent bulbs in more and more homes, offices and commercial establishments. They use considerably less energy which, of course, means lower power bills—quite important these days with the steady rise in electric rates.

But the study, done in collaboration with the Zero Mercury Working Group and European Environmental Bureau, cautions users that CFLs contain some amount of mercury. The good news is that most CFLs sold in the country have a mercury content that is “considerably lower than the current 3.5 milligrams limit set by international standards.” But some have much higher contents. One product tested registered a mercury content of 17.47 mg.

The moral of the story is that not all CFLs are created equal, so consumers have to choose wisely. Most likely, the products with high mercury content are much cheaper. Consumers may be saving money by paying less for CFLs and having lower electric bills, but if they do not choose carefully the products they buy they may end up spending more for medical bills. Mercury can cause very serious health problems.

The other thing consumers should also be careful about is disposal. Because of CFLs’ mercury content, even if it is just a tiny amount, old bulbs should be disposed of properly so the chemical element is not spilled.

Reacting to the Ban Toxics! report, Philips, probably the biggest lighting manufacturer in the world, assured Filipino consumers their products adhere to local standards. Ria Nuñez, product manager for Philips Philippines, said, “We maintain that…our products, and their respective packaging, fully comply with the requirements of the Department of Trade and Industry, which actively upholds and safeguards consumer rights by ensuring that the products they approve (for release in the market) are safe for public use.”


Derrick Johnson of Baybay, Leyte, wonders why he cannot find plain tomato sauce in Ormoc City supermarkets anymore. What he sees on the store shelves are spaghetti sauces. Johnson says he not only prefers to use tomato sauce for his spaghetti but also takes two spoonfuls every day because of lycopene, which has many health benefits.

Retired Judge Ignacio R. Concepcion wants to know why his wife, a homemaker, is not receiving the P500 monthly allowance which presumably the Caloocan City government announced would be given to senior constituents. The judge understands if he is exempted as he has a pension, but he does not know why his wife, who is not employed, is not receiving the benefit.

A former colleague who retired early advises people who are individual members of the Social Security System to pay the maximum monthly premium charged by the agency so they can also get the highest monthly pension set by SSS when they claim their retirement benefits.

Eli Canta says nobody advised him about continuing his membership and paying the highest premium, so he is getting only a very small amount as retirement benefit from SSS.

Of course, individual members will have to pay for both his/her share of the premium and the employers’. As of January 2007, the maximum SSS monthly contribution was P1,560, with the employer paying P1,060 and the employee P500. Without an employer to take care of the employer’s share, individual members will have to pay the entire amount by himself/herself.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail lbolido@inquirer.com.ph.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Ban Toxics! , Ban Toxics! Report , CFL , Compact Fluorescent Lamps , European Environmental Bureau , Zero Mercury Working Group

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. This is not just a farm
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  10. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • 4 Etihad passengers not yet located
  • DAR to complete installation of Luisita land reform beneficiaries in May
  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Sports

  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Lifestyle

  • Summer Mayhem: The ultimate beach experience
  • A haven for steak lovers
  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • DOLE sees more Filipinos hired by South Koreans
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme