According to Inhabitat.com, compact fluorescent light bulbs are a very serious health hazard:
Mercury from energy production and broken CFL bulbs seeps into soil and water and usually ends up in the bodies of fish. Animals or people who then eat those fish take on their toxicity, which can cause severe disabilities from stunted neurological development. It has also been speculated that high mercury rates can cause cancer, though we’ll need a few more years of increasing exposure to know for sure.
So, what are we to do? How can we deal with this terrible problem?
For these reasons many governments and retailers are offering CFL recycling programs that safely handle the mercury instead of letting it build up in landfills. But just because recycling systems are in place doesn’t mean people use them. Most of our dumps are filled with recyclable or reusable items in the first place. I find it very unlikely that a person who throws away an empty water bottle will suddenly decide to drive to Home Depot to recycle an old CFL. People are lazy — and that’s something you can count on!
Come on, people! Don’t be lazy. Send your light bulbs to Washington.
In the Vancouver Sun, Bronwyn Eyre explains:
Nothing better illustrates an instance of the cure being worse than the disease than our rush to buy mercury-containing, compact fluorescent light bulbs. Demonizing the traditional light bulb as energy inefficient, we’re embracing a product that apparently has truly lethal dangers.
Aside from the fact these bulbs apparently don’t last anywhere near the 10 years they’re supposed to, if one breaks in your house, you should, according to Health Canada: Ventilate the room for at least 15 minutes, use tape instead of a vacuum or broom lest you spread contamination, wear disposable gloves during cleanup, place broken material in a sealed glass container and remove rugs, making sure not to place them in the household trash. Maybe a call to the hazmat guys would not be far-fetched.
The conclusion: “clearly, incandescent light bulbs are safer than compact fluorescent ones.”
“Take extra care when using new globes” is the warning issued by the Daily Dispatch in South Africa:
COMPACT fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are generally welcomed as a more efficient alternative to incandescent bulbs – but environmentalists and health experts are now concerned about their long- term impact.
While the bulbs are extremely energy efficient, they contain mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause kidney and brain damage.
The amount in each CFL is only about 5mg – or just enough to cover the tip of a pen – but that is enough to contaminate about 30,000 litres of water beyond the safety limits set by international research.
And, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, what really concerns environmentalists is the possible cumulative effect on water resources when increasing numbers of CFLs are dumped and the tubes are shattered, releasing the mercury to the environment.
“On the other hand, accidental breakage of globes in homes and workplaces is what concerns health experts, who warn that mercury contamination of a home or office should be cleared by experts to prevent mercury becoming a health hazard to residents or workers.”
Meanwhile, even intact CFLs could cause misery for people who have light-sensitive skin disorders, medical experts have warned. People with skin conditions such as lupus, eczema and psoriasis have reported that CFLs cause painful rashes, swelling and a burning sensation on their skin.
The increased use of compact fluorescent light bulbs — encouraged or mandated by government in many countries — is fast becoming a global health and environmental disaster.
Superior Lightning, which calls itself “Ft. Lauderdale’s leader in energy efficient light bulbs”, issued a press release titled “CFLs Made EZ” on July 24. It extols the virtues of compact fluorescent light bulbs:
They help the environment: CFL lamps leave a much smaller eco footprint. Versus an incandescent bulb, a CFL saves over 2.000 times its weight in greenhouse gases. The reduced energy usage combines with increased efficiency makes CFLs a great way to help the environment easily and affordably….
They last much longer: Energy efficient CFLs last between 8 and 15 times longer than incandescent. This equals a lifespan of 6,000 to 15,000 hours. This longer life also means less waste entering our landfills.
It is clear that CFLs make economic and environmental sense. They provide a cheaper, longer lasting, energy efficient alternative to traditional incandescent lamps. Everyone should make the switch today.
There is not a single word in Superior Lighting’s press release about the dangers to our health and our environment from compact fluorescent light bulbs. The mercury from one fluorescent bulb can pollute 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels for drinking. CFLs are now the fastest growing source of mercury in our environment. Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on earth; it can cause serious health problems, including nerve and kidney damage.
There is not a single word in Superior Lighting’s press release about how to dispose of these dangerous light bulbs.
Shame on you, Superior Lighting!
LightBulbRecycling.com quantifies the alarming environmental damages from compact fluorescent light bulbs:
The mercury from one fluorescent bulb can pollute 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels for drinking.
It only takes 1 teaspoon of mercury to contaminate a 20-acre lake FOREVER.
Each year, an estimated 600 million fluorescent lamps are disposed of in U.S. landfills amounting to 30,000 pounds of mercury waste.
If you put your used compact fluorescent light bulbs in your trash, you will make this terrible environmental problem even worse. Depending on where you live, you may also be breaking the law.
You can buy a Compact Fluorescent Bulb Recycling Kit for $107.95 at LightBulbRecycling.com. Or you can put your used bulb in a Ziploc bag, put the bag in a small box, and send it to Washington. They’re the experts. They’ll know what to do.
At Beliefnet.com, Erin Manning reports this unsettling news about compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs):
CFLs contain mercury, which is especially toxic to fetal and early childhood brain development, and requires them to be properly disposed or recycled. Without proper recycling, bulbs are typically incinerated or landfilled. CFLs are now the fastest growing source of mercury in our environment.
Let’s repeat that: CFLs are now the fastest growing source of mercury in our environment! Why on Earth is Washington forcing us to use these things?
Please, don’t put your used CFLs in the incinerator or in the trash! Dispose of them properly. Send your light bulbs to Washington. They’re the experts. They’ll know what to do.