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Consumer Reports

Halogen bulbs can be in-home killers | (UPI) -- A manufacturer of halogen light bulbs and the CPSC say the company's new 500-watt version is "too hot" to use in home torchiere lamps. There's a good reason why torchiere floor lamps have a cover over the halogen bulbs -- the bulbs can be a fire hazard for nearby objects. Current lamp designs, however, will not safely allow the use of a 500-watt bulb.

In cooperation with federal regulators, Cooper Lighting is warning consumers the company's super-bright 500-watt halogen bulbs should not be used in standard in-home torchiere lamps and that all halogen lamps should be put far away from walls and drapes or any combustible materials.

The 500-watt bulbs get much hotter than lower wattage types and are very hot compared to incandescent bulbs.

Although Cooper says it's received no complaints or reports of fires, nationally there have been at least 290 fires and 25 deaths attributed to halogen bulbs and torchiere lamps in the past decade. The new-generation, super-bright bulbs pose an even bigger concern.

The bulbs in question have been sold nationally -- at WalMart and Lowes and smaller outlets -- in the $4 price range.

The concern voiced in the warning is that many of the 500-watt bulbs recently sold by Cooper do not contain a cautionary statement in the packaging about problems that can occur from misuse of the devices. Current standards state that residential lamps should not use a halogen bulb over 300 watts.

The CPSC says the high-wattage bulbs are authorized for use in locations such as work site and flood lamps, but are too hot to use in residential situations. For more consumer information on the bulbs, contact Cooper at (800) 954-7145.

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