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Migraine Patients Can Now Buy Legal Incandescent Lights!

Migraine and other light sensitive disease has rendered me from being an active, athletic outdoor girl, to that of an indoor dwelling, sunglass-wearing, disabled hermit of a person who spends a good portion of her day peering through the tinted windows of her home at the things she used to enjoy. These are actually pretty good days for me. For a long time, Migraine, Sjogren’s syndrome and lupus had me in even worse circumstances, behind windows covered by black trash bags, living in a home where most light fixtures had only a single low wattage incandescent bulb in them.

When I learned of the phased-in ban of incandescent light bulbs, I shrank into a deep depression, literally wondering how I was going to survive without incandescent light. My body is intolerant of CFL’s and LED’s. We live in Amish country, and briefly discussed having gaslights put into the house. That’s an example of the extremes we were looking at to keep me healthy.

I know I am not alone. Maybe you are one of those patients who, like me, have been hoarding stockpiles of our favorite incandescent bulbs while simultaneously praying that this harmful ban will be overturned before it is too late.

My family is sensitive to my issues, and my techie son has diligently been trying to find me options so we’ll know what to do when it is completely illegal to sell incandescents here in the US. Every couple of weeks he sends me a link to something new. Cardboard bulbs. LED bulbs. You name it, I’ve seen it. Sometimes these things are so new they’re still in development. Yet, each time he sends the links I check them out, get excited, and then see the price for such cutting edge technology.

I thought, “Canada — I’ll go to Canada to buy them.”

Nope. Canada is banning them as well. In fact, a large percentage of countries with which the US does business are in the process of banning incandescents.

Twitter to the rescue

Yesterday while perusing twitter, I saw a tweet that led me to the miracle I’d been praying for…

…A United States company making incandescent bulbs that are excluded from the current ban.


The bulbs that have been banned are called General Service light bulbs. These are the bulbs designed to be used in your home, etc. The bulbs that you find at Wal-Mart and corner grocery stores.

This… this is something different, yet exactly the same!

One company’s story

When major US light companies began to sell their bulb-manufacturing equipment, one smart gentleman purchased it. You see, when they changed the energy laws, they left one category open called Rough Service. They changed all the specifications and created new guidelines which this enterprising engineer was able to meet. He applied to the Department of Energy (DOE) and the design was accepted. With his used equipment, he was able to begin manufacture of these new bulbs and called the company Newcandescent.

The bulbs themselves are no different than regular incandescents we all have grown up with. The beautiful sun-like glow is the same. They look the same and come in basic options, from 15 — 1000 watts. They can be dimmed, unlike their CFL cousins. They’re disposed of just like the incandescents we have used for generations — without a hazmat team.

The price is slightly more than a traditional incandescent, but at less than $3 per bulb, I am considering it a bargain when compared to other bulbs we have looked at purchasing at $40 each – or more. They also last longer than typical light bulbs, and that is part of why we can purchase them in the US despite the ban…

You see, there are different types of incandescents for different purposes.

For example, a bulb you buy for home use is graded for that use because the bulb itself cannot withstand vibrations or abuse without self-destructing. They’re cheaper in price and in design. A bulb designed for home use will not withstand say, placement in a subway car. It would die a short but brilliant death. These are general purpose bulbs.

So, companies designed tougher bulbs that are able to withstand vibrations etc without damage. These are termed Rough Service bulbs. They are still incandescents. They still look and work the same, but they’re made better. They last longer. They’re in a different category. When the new Newcandescent design was approved, these new rough service bulbs essentially became ban-proof. At least for now.

Yes, it seems these bulbs survive partly due to a loophole in the paperwork, but that tiny, yet important difference is apparently what makes them legal for us to purchase here in the US.

Aside from the health benefits we could reap by using them instead of CFL’s, another benefit of these bulbs is that they are manufactured right here in the United States instead of China, the country to which most bulbs owe their existence.

So, in this case, we have the type of light we need, in the form we want, for cheaper than other non-incandescent options, and it’s made in the US.

I feel like I hit the mother-lode!

Too good to be true?

Just to be sure, I researched “rough service bulbs” and found that earlier versions of rough service bulbs manufactured by other companies included a chemical coating (Teflon) which retards breakage, but which also gives off toxic fumes that have been fatal to animals. However when I contacted Newcandescent directly and inquired about chemical coatings, I was assured that there are no coatings on Newcandescent bulbs.

As to lights that are exempt from the current ban, here is a list of the current 22 bulbs that are safe from EISA legislation:


  • Specialty Lamps including: appliance lamp, black light lamp, bug lamp, colored lamp, infrared lamp, left hand thread lamp, marine lamp, marine signal service lamp, mine service lamp, plant light lamp, reflector lamp, rough service lamp, shatter-resistant lamp, sign service lamp, silver bowl lamp, showcase lamp, 3-way incandescent lamp, traffic signal lamp, vibration service lamp
  • G-shape lamp with a diameter of 5 inches or more
  • T-shape lamp of 40 watts or less or a length of more than 10 inches
  • B, BA, CA, F, G161.2, G25, G30, S or M14 lamp of 40 watts or less”

Additionally, some companies are still apparently producing “incandescent bulbs” that are legal. They are called “Energy Saving Incandescent bulbs.” To be legal, they must be 72 watts or less and these lights use new halogen technology, so they aren’t exactly the incandescents we used to know – they are halogen lights that supposedly look like incandescents. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they give out less light however, just different light which may or may not be *safe* for Migraineurs or those with other light sensitivity issues such as autoimmunity. These are expected to be carried in some big box stores and other light bulb outlets. If your local store doesn’t carry them, please ask them if they can get them for you, then come back and let us know what you think.

New labeling will begin to focus on lumens instead of watts like the old incandescent packages. Lumens are the amount of light or brightness that is produced by the bulb. You’ll find this new labeling in essentially the same places you used to see watts labeled, including on the box and on the bulb. However, Migraineurs should be warned that light produced by different sources such as halogen or LED or CFL’s have a different quality to them that may or may not be a trigger for them.

So, are Newcandescent bulbs utilizing the new halogen technology, or are they the old incandescents we’re looking for? When I called the company and spoke to a representative, I was told “No, there’s no halogen in Newcandescent bulbs”. They explained that a new system that uses 4 specially designed filaments is what makes Newcandescent bulbs different. Other than the filaments, it is the same as the old Edison light bulbs we all love so much.

Customers are still able to purchase existing stock of banned bulbs until any particular store’s stock is gone. Then they will be forced to make some difficult decisions regarding what they will choose to use instead of their old traditional incandescents.

Disclosures: Neither nor I have any ties to this company or their product. My purpose in writing this post was to educate and inform, giving otherwise desperate patients hope that they have options they had only dreamed of before.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

1. Scott, Stephen. "Rough Service Light Bulbs Can Kill Your Chickens.” Terrior Seeds LLC. Available at: September 23, 2012. 2.Birnbaum, Larry. "Newcandescent Light Bulbs.” Available at: Copyright ©2012 Newcandescent. 3."What you need to know about EISA." Available at:". Bulbrite. © 2009-2013 Bulbrite Industries, Inc. 4. "What Retailers Need to Know About New Light Bulb Legislation." American Lighting Association. Available at: November, 2011.


  • springbunny
    3 years ago

    Just FYI there is another American made rough service bulb alternative:

  • springbunny
    3 years ago

    Adding to my previous comment – I wrote here that I had already waited a full month for my order of Newcandescent bulbs, which have not arrived.

    In one phone call, their customer service agent told me (1) there was a backorder on 60 watt bulbs (2) then they said my order would go out tomorrow (3) then they said my order was already in transit (4) then they said it was already delivered.

    So I asked for the tracking number and looked it up while on the phone and show them where it said their order was RETURNED to them by the post office. The agent wasn’t able to help further.

    At that point I asked for the manager. He informed me I had to prove to him that the post office really gave it back to them by giving him a name at their organization who signed for the returned package – the online record wasn’t adequate proof.

    After speaking with my postmaster, we discovered that their organization took the address I gave them correctly and changed one number in the zipcode – so that it went to another city – and then was returned to their company. No-where along the way was I given any tracking info. The package was sent without signature confirmation so no signature proof of return exists. My postmaster offered to speak directly with Newcandescent to prove the validity of the return.

    I relayed this info to Newcandescent and I was told by their company that they will refund my money in a few days.

    Pointing out these facts as they happened. No emotional comments on my part – simply facts.

  • Cawalla
    3 years ago

    I am so happy to have found this article. Yay! This is good news. I have a stockpile as well, that is getting smaller.

  • Julie
    4 years ago

    THANK YOU!!! I have definitely been stockpiling since I heard about that horrible ban. Your first sentence or two made my mom and me laugh. It sounds way too familiar.

  • Jason Picard
    5 years ago

    Hi I have suffered from fluorescent lights causing me headaches for years. 6 years now to be exact. This ban that happened In Canada has scared me we can still buy them here this year but next year they will be all gone. I’m sick of dealing with this Issue and always having migraines. Doctor’s are only Interested In giving out migraine medication. Which Is no solution to the problem. Really just a waste of money. I bought a pair of glasses that have the fl 41 tint. This helps a bit but really they are useless. They are not the lifesaver everyone says they are. I can tolerate the fluorescent lights a litter longer when wearing those glasses. I’m Interested In the cure how can I go 27 years of my life and have no Issues with fluorescent lights. Then all of the sudden one day I can’t stand them. I wonder what vitamins and minerals are people taking to combat this Issue. Is It possible to make yourself better. If Charlotte Gerson can cure cancer with organic vegetables why can’t we cure this Issue.

  • Ellen4
    6 years ago

    Ellen, we can’t thank you enough for this lifesaving information! We’ve been so concerned about the bulb ban, as our family is light sensitive. Anything other than incandescent bulbs gives us headaches, a sick dizzy feeling, low energy, is a trigger for seizures and stirs up the Irlen Syndrome. You’ve made our day!

  • Teri-Robert
    6 years ago


    Thank you SO much for this information. Not only is there an issue with Migraine triggers, but some older light fixtures simply won’t accommodate the CFLs. This will save me money too since I won’t need to look at replacing light fixtures.


  • springbunny
    3 years ago

    Be mindful of the halogen bulbs for potential for heat build-up which may cause shattering, explosion of bulbs, and / or fires. Certain types of fixtures can increase the potential.

    Shattering and fires aside, the light emitted from the halogen bulb is a bit different. (Mine are GE brand) The light seems more focused than classic incandescents – more like a little spot light – and there’s an intensity that makes me not want to have it pointed right at my work area. It feels uncomfortable in the same way that glare off chrome feels uncomfortable – but not quite as horribly uncomfortable. Other than those drawbacks, it doesn’t seem to trigger my pain, vision, and migraine issues like CFLs and LEDs etc. I’m not willing to risk the potential hazards from these bulb, however, so I’m ditching the two I purchased.

    Thank you for telling about Newcandescent! I ordered a month ago and am anxiously awaiting delivery. Not sure if they’re busy and behind on fulfillment – but I hope they work as promised – and I hope they can continue to avoid being banned.

    After recently reading an exchange between supposed medical professionals who claim that fluorescents and other alternative bulbs can not cause migraines, I felt so frustrated! They should talk with my neurologists and other specialists who KNOW the real effects various lights have on me. (Some have witnessed it when I reacted to their office lights even when I didn’t know what sort of bulb they were using Like a blind-test. No pun intended.)

    Thanks for the great article. I find myself wondering if there are lamps made to use either the non-banned appliance bulbs or multiples of the small non-banned less than 40-watt-ers. (I’m heartened to see 3-way bulbs are also excepted from the ban – I’m gonna have to find a 3 way lamp and get some bulbs!) So thrilled to have options – and to not need a future where I go to bed when it gets dark outside! (Where I live, I’d be in bed at 4:30 through most of winter!)

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