Page last updated at 05:01 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 06:01 UK

EU bans old-fashioned light bulbs

Traditional bulb (right)and energy-saving bulb

A European Union ban on the manufacture and import of 100-watt and frosted incandescent light bulbs, in use since the 19th century, has come into force.

They are being phased out to encourage the switch to more energy-efficient fluorescent or halogen lamps, which use up to 80% less electricity.

Critics say the new bulbs are gloomy, and can trigger headaches and rashes in people with light sensitive disorders.

The ban is one of a series of measures in the EU to tackle climate change.

The less powerful clear bulbs will be progressively banned until all traditional bulbs disappear from shops across Europe in 2012.

The new rules follow an agreement reached by the 27 EU governments last year.

Some consumers have been stockpiling the old-style versions over concerns about the higher cost of the long-life bulbs, or for medical and sentimental reasons.

Several nations including Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada and the Philippines have also announced plans to phase out traditional bulbs.

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