Thanks in part to new House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, 100-watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be sold in the U.S. after Jan. 1, 2012, with a ban of 75-, 60- and 40-watt bulbs to follow in the subsequent years. But in Europe this process began already , and has now inspired a bit of innovative business marketing, as Reuters reported recently:
Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law have come up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs — by producing them in China, importing them as “small heating devices” and selling them as “heatballs….”
Rotthaeuser studied EU legislation and realised that because the inefficient old bulbs produce more warmth than light — he calculated heat makes up 95 percent of their output, and light just 5 percent — they could be sold legally as heaters.
On their website, the two engineers describe the heatballs as “action art” and as “resistance against legislation which is implemented without recourse to democratic and parliamentary processes.”
The public authorities were informed about the protest action, but nevertheless had the District Governement of Cologne has on the grounds of product safety ordered that 40,000 Heatballs be witheld by the customs in Cologne Bonn.
This behaviour is a clear act of censorship. The measures that the admininstration have taken lack all legal basis. There has been no written comment from the District Government. Only verbal statements have been available. One has to conclude that there are no plans for legal clarification. The District Government has had samples of the goods for more than 6 weeks (see attached receipt). But the decision on whether to clear or further withhold the goods is still missing.
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