Tag Archives: EPA

Dangerous misinformation about mercury in compact fluorescent light bulbs

Proponents of compact fluorescent light bulbs often play down the fact that these light bulbs contain mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin.  For example, Cindi Hinton dishes out this nonsense on Examiner.com:

They only contain 1.4 to 4 milligrams of mercury. That’s about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen.

The amount of mercury that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen is enough to pollute 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels for drinking, according to LightBulbRecycling.com.  The Environmental Protection Agency thinks these light bulbs are so dangerous that they have issued guidance on “What to Do if a Fluorescent or Other Mercury-Containing Light Bulb Breaks.“

The EPA has also issued guidance on “What Never to Do with a Mercury Spill.”  One of their instructions is “Never use a broom to clean up mercury. It will break the mercury into smaller droplets and spread them.”  But what does Cindi Hinton say you should do if you have a CFL light bulb that breaks?

…gently sweep broken pieces into a jar.

Ms. Hinton should be ashamed of herself.  Let’s hope her readers don’t follow her advice.

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Where to recycle compact fluorescent light bulbs

The Environmental Protection Agency has a useful page on its web site:  “Mercury-Containing Light Bulb (Lamp) Collection and Recycling Programs Where You Live“.

Recycling programs are not available in all areas.

According to the EPA:

Some household hazardous waste collection programs only collect these items once or twice a year, so residents will have to hold on to their light bulbs until the collection takes place.

The EPA fails to mention the best option for recycling your used compact fluorescent light bulbs:  send them to Washington!

The address of EPA headquarters in Washington is:

Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

Send your light bulbs to Washington!  They’re the experts.  They’ll know what to do.

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