You know, when the hype started growing about compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), people were all excited about the reduction in the production of carbon dioxide produced from the decreased energy needs. But, there are a few things that they refused to tell you.
It's like someone telling you that putting a snake in your home will do wonders by keeping the rodents away. It will save you hundreds of dollars by not having to purchase rat traps or using nasty poisons around your home. What they don't tell you is that you are buying and placing a dangerous and deadly snake in your home.
These CFL's are no different.
We are already aware of the dangers from broken mercury-filled bulbs. Some toxic waste facilities state that they want $2,000 dollars to just clean up a broken bulb. Why?? It's MERCURY!!!!
Mercury is a hazardous, toxic, deadly heavy-metal that government's the world over are working to eradicate from our lives.
And yet, these same governments are pushing, and have mandated, laws that force us to buy mercury-containing products and place them in our homes and around our children.
And like the snake you bought to save money, this decision has darker problems. Namely, the fact that all of these CFL's that have been created are made by removing mercury from the ground and processing it in order to construct the CFL's. Don't think that this is a benign enterprise:
Energy efficiency for the First World comes at a high cost for factory workers in China, with high rates of mercury poisoning being reported among employees in the plants that make compact fluorescent light bulbs.It gets worse. The snake is angry:
According to a recent study by the Chinese health ministry, however, mercury exposure is widespread among the workers making these bulbs. At one factory in Jinzhou, 121 of 123 employees contained a dangerous body burden of mercury, with one worker carrying 150 times the government-mandated threshold. At a factory in Anyang, 35 percent of workers had suffered from mercury poisoning and the plant was dumping mercury directly into the local water supply.
Interviews conducted by the London Times turned up hundreds of cases of dangerous mercury exposure and even hospitalization, but many workers are afraid to complain for fear of losing their jobs.
The paper also turned up a case where 68 of 72 workers at one factory had required hospitalization for mercury poisoning.
If 9 million CFL's have been sold in the California alone, that means about 100 lbs of mercury has been removed from the ground and placed into the environment ready to do untold toxic damage.
And this from THE Greenest state in the Union???
If even one bulb breaks out in the open, such as in a landfill, that ONE BULB can contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water. Not to mention the soils as well.
Oh, but the EPA has the answer. And, it only takes 19 steps to safely clean up a mercury spill from a broken CFL. Meanwhile, while you are going to be forced to buy those mercury bulbs after 2011 (if sanity does not return to this nation), the EPA has instructions for what you are to do should you have mercury in your house.
- All mercury-containing products or containers of mercury should be placed inside a larger container with a tight fitting lid.
- Kitty litter or oil-absorbent matter should be placed around the product to protect it from breaking or sudden shocks.
- Clearly label storage container as "Mercury - DO NOT OPEN."
- If you must wait for a hazardous waste collection day, store products safely in their original containers with the labels intact, and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
- Transport container to a household hazardous collection center in a cardboard box. Secure them so that they do not tip over. This will minimize shifting or sliding during sudden stops or turns.
- Transport containers in the back of a pick-up truck or in a car trunk. If you must transport in the passenger compartment, make sure there is adequate ventilation.
Who said that the government can't have a sense of humor?
But, what if you do break a bulb? Who do you call? The EPA? No, they have no clue other than giving you steps to follow. According to those steps, you are to take those bulbs to a certified recycling center. Many times, having to pay $$ to have a single hazardous-to-your-health, toxic heavy-metal-carrying, non-freely chosen CFL bulb disposed of. Many states have only one certified recycling center per county, or worse, one for the entire state.
Fortunately, many businesses are stepping up to the plate to help citizens recycle these hazardous neurotoxin anti-Third World CFL's. Well, for at least 8 hours they did.
Yep. That was back in 2007.
Home Depot has stated that you can recycle by handing over one of these human-killers to one of its associates. Shows how much they care for their workers.
Here is something to think about: If Home Depot and Walmart alone sold nearly 300 million CFL's in 2007 (75 plus 193), that would mean nearly 1.5 tons of mercury were placed in America's homes that year. This does not count Europe and other "enlightened" countries.
And that's 1.5 tons each year. Every year! More and more mercury entering our homes and our environment.
Government. There to protect you.
[Update] It would seem that GE is working on new incandescent bulbs that will be just as efficient as CFL's.
Without the mercury.
We'll see if Congress reverses course and bans CFL's and their mercury and in turn mandate the use of GE's new incandescent bulbs.