Online, a number of consumers also complain that their pets react adversely to the new bulbs.
On the U.K. Yahoo! Answers forum, posters complained of dogs barking at the ceiling and growing agitated in rooms that use CFLs.
"When the 'low energy' lamp is on, the dogs are not very happy and will not go to the room by choice," wrote Stellar Meg. "Put the lamp back to a normal light bulb, or switch the low energy one off, the dogs are quite happy."
Florida resident Brian Hetzman told WND of similar problems with his dog.
"My wife and I put a new fluorescent bulb in our ceiling light, and our 10-year-old dog literally jumped up off the floor and starting screaming," Hetzman said. "She was moaning and growling and barking and looking up at the ceiling.
"I figured out what was happening and took the bulb out," he continued. "Then I put it back in a second later to test the theory. Again, she started making noises I've never heard her make and running around in a circle moaning and whimpering."
Popular CFLs use an electronic ballast to send a current through the gas within the bulb, which then excites the bulb's phosphor coating to produce light. The electronic ballast is supposed to be an improvement over the flickering, slow starting magnetic ballasts used in older fluorescent bulbs, but some believe the electronic technology also produces an ultrasonic noise that disturbs animals.
The University of London's David Pye wrote in Physics World Magazine in 2007 that a tunable ultrasound detector found the low energy bulbs emitting acoustic signals audible by dogs and especially cats, but WND was unable to find any other studies confirming Pye's results.
This bears watching. CFLs are beginning to get more negative press (and not just from those of us who were worried about the mercury content from the get-go) because, well, they suck.
Here’s my sad collection of bulbs that didn’t work,” Ms. Zuercher said the other day as she pulled a cardboard box containing defunct bulbs from her laundry shelf.
One of the 16 Feit Electric bulbs the Zuerchers bought at Costco did not work at all, they said, and three others died within hours. The bulbs were supposed to burn for 10,000 hours, meaning they should have lasted for years in normal use. “It’s irritating,” Ms. Zuercher said.
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Some experts who study the issue blame the government for the quality problems, saying an intensive federal push to lower the price essentially backfired by encouraging manufacturers to use cheap components.
“In the pursuit of the holy grail, we stepped on the consumer,” said Michael Siminovitch, director of a lighting center at the University of California, Davis.