Monday, October 08, 2007

Mercury Dangers of Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs


More on Mercury Dangers of Gore’s Carbon Footprint Reducing Light Bulb

By Jeff Poor | October 8, 2007

Perhaps it would be appropriate for Al Gore’s Web site to display a disclaimer warning you about the dangers of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), but he doesn’t.

According to the Washington Post’s Eco Wise columnist Eviana Hartman, “they contain a small amount of mercury, a potent neurotoxin.”

“If you toss the bulbs in the trash, they're likely to break, potentially exposing workers to mercury or releasing it into groundwater and soil from landfills,” Hartman wrote in the October 7 Washington Post.

There have been instances where these bulbs have broken and posed dangers. A WorldNetDaily story reported a Maine woman’s home was contaminated when one of the bulbs broke and will cost her $2,000 to have it cleaned up. The (Nashville) Tennessean reported of a woman who broke the bulb and without knowing the consequences vacuumed it up and spread the contaminants throughout her home.

“Everybody is throwing all this mercury into the garbage. No one knows this. This should be in bold print on the packaging,” Elizabeth Doermann said to the April 14 Tennessean.

But a government official told the April 2 Waste News, a trade publication that focuses on issues pertaining to waste products and the environment, reported there has been little discussion about the environmental hazards because of the hype surrounding global warming hysteria:

“But warning consumers that they have to dispose of compact fluorescents with care may not be in the best interest of those trying to sell them, she [Ann Moore, recycling coordinator for Burlington County, NJ] said. Along with the additional expense and performance concerns, having to deal with disposing of the bulbs could give consumers another excuse not to buy them, she said.

‘You probably don’t want to do that because you’d hate to wreck the momentum,’ Moore said. ‘And that could kill the movement.’”

Just about everybody's got them. I had a couple of them myself, until the base of one of them just came loose from the twisty glass part. Of course, I just threw it out with the recyclables. It was one of the less expensive ones from the dollar store. Who knew?

I read about this woman's experience in WND. As I recall, she was putting it in a ceiling fixture of her daughter's bedroom, and as she was screwing it into the socket, it slipped and broke on the carpeted floor. She called, got advice, had some kind of hazmat team come in, give an estimate to clean the carpet.

The bill: $2000usd...

According to WND,

In fact, practically the whole world – fearing global warming – is getting ready to ban the incandescent light bulb. It started in Cuba, moved to Venezuela, then Australia, Canada and the European Union. Now individual states in the U.S., including California, Connecticut, North Carolina and Rhode Island, are all in the process of legislating an end to Edison's greatest invention. Even local towns and cities are getting into the act.

The rap against the incandescent is that it uses more energy to produce light. Advocates of CFLs say they save money and energy by producing more light over more time for less money and less energy. They prefer to minimize concerns about cleanup and disposal, usually saying more needs to be done in the area of recycling.

But recycling experts say the solutions are at least five years away. Meanwhile, millions of consumers and green activists are being persuaded to make the switch.

EPA currently doesn't provide a unified message to the public on what to do with fluorescent lamps once they are no longer used," admits a draft announcing plans for a pilot project by the agency.

Yet, the EPA's Energy Star program is one of the major forces behind the push for CFLs.

I might have been tempted to dump the carpet. But then it ends up in landfill. Thirty years down the road, it'll be like Jersey City and the chromium superfund sites - except it'll be all over the US, and it will be much more dispersed than would be the case at a superfund site, potentially ending up in our water supplies. Remember, this will be a hard-sell marketing ploy. The image here is the one they want you to remember: [(1=9 simple math)]. How great is that? Don't worry about a little bit of mercury, folks. There's a ton of money to be made.

Perhaps they will bring out an Al Carbon-Offset Gore "mercury super-fllter", designed to protect us from mercury-laden drinking water. Or maybe he'll get into the hazmat business - seems like a natural.

Anyway, Al Gore's pushing it, and that's reason enough to blow the whistle. Gore has never had a taste of real power, so it's no wonder he's resisting a run for the While House. Lotsa money to be made if he plays his cards right. Besides, I think he's decided he doesn't like showing up for work every day in a shirt and tie.