Worried About Carbon/Climate Disaster? You Should Be Worried About This: Incipient Environmental Disaster: CFL and Fluroscent Lights




From American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog


Obama has America and the whole world in a tizzy about Global Warming and concerns relating to Carbon.  Obama pushes those little squiggly lights as a saviour to global warming.  What he doesn’t tell you is that they are potentially an environmental hazard….worse than carbon. Carbon is everywhere; the soil, the air, etc.  We exhale CARBON dioxide.  Heck, even Al Gore says that the soil in sub-Saharan Africa is poor because it doesn’t have ENOUGH Carbon.  In days of yore, Americans were warned about the old fashioned MERCURY thermometers.  Now we have those wonderful digital ones.  What if I told you that you could be exposed to MERCURY and potentially poisoned?


July 11, 2009
By Thomas Lifson

If one of those CFL light bulbs breaks…


Those curly CFL light bulbs that we all will be forced to adopt are incipient environmental disasters. Should a table or floor lamp be knocked over by a dog or child, for instance, if the bulb breaks, you have a mercury contamination problem, one that requires great care in cleaning up.


Writing in the Washington Times, Terrence Jeffrey exposes some of the contradictory advice the EPA is offering:


The first section is titled: “What Never to Do With a Mercury Spill.” It says: “Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury (but see the ‘What to Do if a Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks’ section below for more specific instructions about vacuuming broken fluorescent light bulbs). The vacuum will put mercury into the air and increase exposure.”


But the EPA also tells us:


But what if a fluorescent bulb breaks on the wall-to-wall carpet where your toddler crawls? What then? Suddenly, it is OK to use a vacuum on a mercury spill.

“Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag,” says the directive. “Use sticky tape to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.”
But don’t throw that sealed bag away. It may be too toxic for your garbage can. “Some states do not allow such trash disposal,” says EPA’s directive. “Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken out to a local recycling center.”


There’s much more:


If you use fluorescent bulbs, says EPA, you will need an evacuation plan in the event of a break. “Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out,” says EPA’s directive. “Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system if you have one.”
When you can safely return, says EPA, start throwing away your belongings. “If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or the bedding should be thrown away,” says the directive.
Never clean any washable thing — no matter how costly or sentimentally valued — if it has been near a broken fluorescent bulb. “Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage,” says the directive. Imagine: The mercury in these bulbs is so bad it is bad for your sewage.


I have personally wasted a lot of gasoline taking burned out CFLs to the City of Berkeley recycling station, where they have been cheerfully received. It appears that not that many folks (in Berkeley!)  are taking the trouble to drive there, based on the warm greeting I receive for doing my civic duty. I must assume many people are just throwing away the CFLs in the garbage.


I wonder how long it will be before those souls who collect and dispose of our garbage start showing signs of mercury poisoning? Especially the people who work the rear end of the garbage truck, where they crush and compact the trash they collect. Smash enough CFL bulbs, and I bet the trucks become contaminated. Class action lawyers around the country must be licking their chops over the potential. This could be another asbestos bonanza.

What about mercury in fluorescent light bulbs


A fluorescent light bulb (also referred to as a “lamp”) is a gas-discharge bulb that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor. The excited mercury atoms produce short-wave ultraviolet light that causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light. Mercury is an essential component of all fluorescent light bulbs, and allows these bulbs to be energy-efficient light sources.

Types of Fluorescent Bulbs

Tube: The standard straight “linear” tube comes in a variety of diameters and lengths. For example:

  • The T-4 is ½ inch in diameter and often used under kitchen cabinets.
  • The T-8 is 1 inch in diameter and the T-12 is 1½ inches in diameter.
  • Variations include the “U-tube” bent in half to form a U-shape, and the “circline” tube bent into a circle.
  • The larger-diameter tube fluorescents are used in ceiling light fixtures.

Compact fluorescent light (CFL): This is a short bulb made of a tube about the diameter of a pencil that has been either folded or twisted, resulting in an overall size that rivals a standard incandescent light bulb. Since the CFL fits into a standard light socket, the bulb and fixture design possibilities are vastly increased over that of a fluorescent tube. CFLs are now available in a variety of shapes, including spiral (twisted), short tube (folded over) and globe. A globe CFL is either round or A-shaped glass that contains within it a spiral or folded tube.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)

EPA encourages Americans to use compact fluorescent lights in order to save energy. Switching from traditional incandescent bulbs to CFLs is an effective, simple change everyone can make right now to help use less electricity at home and prevent greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global climate change.

Learn about CFLs – General information on Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), where to use CFLs in a home, and how to choose the right type of CFL bulb.

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use, but CFLs can break and release mercury vapor if dropped or roughly handled. EPA encourages consumers to handle and use CFLs safely. Be careful when removing the bulb from its packaging, installing it, or replacing it. More information is provided in the Energy Star fact sheet: CFLs and Mercury (PDF).

If a CFL breaks in your home, please follow EPA’s recommended steps to carefully clean up and dispose of broken bulbs. These recommendations will help to minimize any exposure to released mercury vapor.

EPA encourages the recycling of burned out fluorescent bulbs rather than disposing of them in regular household trash. Recycling of burned out CFLs is one of the best ways to help prevent the release of mercury to the environment by keeping mercury out of landfills and incinerators. Recycling of these bulbs also allows the reuse of the glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights.









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