Tag Archives: Michael Heberling

Dangerous “dim bulbs”

“Dim Bulbs” is the lead article in the July/August of The Freeman. It’s about compact fluorescent light bulbs. After discussing some of the many ways these bulbs are inferior to incandescent bulbs, author Michael Heberling turns to the dangers from these bulbs:

…each CFL contains five to ten milligrams of mercury. Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on earth; it can cause serious health problems, including nerve and kidney damage….So what happens if a CFL next to my daughter’s bed breaks? According to the EPA guidelines, I am to: 1) open the windows and evacuate the room for 15 minutes; 2) shut off the heating or air-conditioning system; 3) carefully scoop up the glass using stiff paper and place it in a glass jar or sealable plastic bag; 4) after vacuuming, wipe the canister and put the bag or debris in a sealed plastic bag; and 5) throw away clothing or bedding that comes in contact with the broken glass or the mercury-containing powder. I must not wash contaminated clothing or bedding because mercury fragments may also contaminate the washing machine or pollute the sewage.

If you have a broken compact fluorescent light bulb, be sure to follow these instructions carefully. But don’t throw away the sealed plastic bag containing your debris. Throwing it away is dangerous. It may also be illegal, depending on where you live. Instead of throwing away your sealed debris bag, put it in a box and mail it to Washington. Your senator’s office, your congressman’s office, or EPA headquarters are good options. They’re the experts. They’ll know what to do. You can find their addresses on the right side of this page.

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