CFL light bulbs are making a terrible mercury pollution problem even worse

An Associated Press story about mercury pollution in the United States has this shocking news:

No fish can escape mercury pollution. That’s the take-home message from a federal study of mercury contamination released Wednesday that tested fish from nearly 300 streams across the country.

The toxic substance was found in every fish sampled, a finding that underscores how widespread mercury pollution has become.

Why should we care?  Here’s why:

Mercury consumed by eating fish can damage the nervous system and cause learning disabilities in developing fetuses and young children.

Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on earth.  One in six American children have been exposed to mercury levels so high that they are potentially at risk for learning disabilities, motor skill impairment, and short-term memory loss.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are the fasting-growing source of mercury pollution in the United States.  The mercury from one CFL bulb can pollute 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels for drinking.  Each year, an estimated 600 million fluorescent lamps are disposed of in U.S. landfills, amounting to 30,000 pounds of mercury waste.  Only 2% of compact fluorescent light bulbs are recycled.

Growing use of mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs, which is being caused by Washington’s ban of incandescent light bulbs, will make this already terrible situation even worse.  Show your government how much you appreciate its meddling by sending your used compact fluorescent light bulbs to Washington.  They’re the experts.  They’ll know what to do with them.


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