Green shock: CFLs more dangerous than first thought

posted at 8:32 pm on March 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The compact fluorescent lightbulb has plenty of supporters in the environmental movement, even while concerns have grown about their disposal. CFLs contain mercury, and when the glass breaks, it spreads the toxic dust in the area. Boosters had previously dismissed concerns over the issue, but now researches worry about the collective effect their massive disposal will have on landfills once they start failing in large numbers:

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, long touted by environmentalists as a more efficient and longer-lasting alternative to the incandescent bulbs that have lighted homes for more than a century, are running into resistance from waste industry officials and some environmental scientists, who warn that the bulbs’ poisonous innards pose a bigger threat to health and the environment than previously thought. …

As long as the mercury is contained in the bulb, CFLs are perfectly safe. But eventually, any bulbs — even CFLs — break or burn out, and most consumers simply throw them out in the trash, said Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University and editor of the journal Environmental Research.

“This is an enormous amount of mercury that’s going to enter the waste stream at present with no preparation for it,” she said.

Even a single CFL could provide toxic levels of exposure for mercury. One contains five milligrams of mercury, which would be enough to contaminate 6,000 gallons of drinking water. Low-mercury models have about one-sixth of the amount, but that’s still enough to contaminate 1,000 gallons. It makes the CFL one of the most toxic components of a household, one that causes kidney and brain damage when people get exposed to enough of it.

What happens when an incandescent bulb hits the floor? Simple: sweep it up, and try not to step on a shard of glass with bare feet. Here’s how people need to handle a broken CFL:

1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
2. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
3. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
6. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
7. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash.
8. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing cleanup materials.
9. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a recycling center.
10. For at least the next few times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming.
11. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

Er, that’s quite a commitment for a lightbulb. I have several of these around the house, and I had no idea that a break could require such an intense cleanup. Like others who bought these products, I hoped to save a little energy and drive down replacement costs.

And guess what — I can’t even throw these in the garbage, broken or unbroken. As MS-NBC reports, Minnesota requires that I take any CFLs to a disposal center certified to handle them. I didn’t know that until tonight, and I have no idea where such a center might be. It does make sense, though, considering the disposal issues involving mercury.

In other words, we have opted for a product that has much more impact on our environment and could turn households into toxic-waste sites to replace a product that uses a little more energy, a change driven ironically by environmentalists. What’s next — lead containers to replace Tupperware?


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Reminds me of the DDT that’s killing hundreds of thousands of malaria victims.

jgapinoy on March 19, 2008 at 8:36 PM

Duhhh theres MERCURY in those things. The light bulb nazi’s need to do their homework before they freak out about incandescent light bulbs.

With that said, I use the florescent light bulbs such as outside lighting for night, or where I leave something on during the day. They run cooler, and use less juice. However its NOT because I was fooled by IDIOTS who say they are the ” GREEEN ” lightbulbs and are perfect.

tx2654 on March 19, 2008 at 8:37 PM

More government control of our lives is needed.

/sarc off

mred on March 19, 2008 at 8:37 PM

Reminds me of the DDT ban that’s killing hundreds of thousands of victims.

jgapinoy on March 19, 2008 at 8:37 PM

my bad.

jgapinoy on March 19, 2008 at 8:38 PM

It`s just too funny. :)

ThePrez on March 19, 2008 at 8:39 PM

Off topic. Sorry. But check out the freaky protesters on C span!

It’s stupid funny

Guardian on March 19, 2008 at 8:40 PM

I am an incandescent light bulb man. The last time I needed new bulbs, my dad was visiting and he took a trip to Walmart and came back with CFLs. I use them, but next time I need new bulbs for the other lights in my apartment, I’m getting more incandescent bulbs.

And in 2010 or whenever the prohibition begins, I’m stocking up on as many incandescent bulbs as I can get my hands on.

Viva Thomas Edison!

Vatican Watcher on March 19, 2008 at 8:41 PM

Allah, in this instance I think it’s appropriate to apply your famous saying to your little mis-adventure. Dude?

RMR on March 19, 2008 at 8:43 PM

Are those CFLs? Or,IUDs? lol!

Blake on March 19, 2008 at 8:43 PM

“we need to pour black soot on the ice caps they are getting to big”
“wait they are now shrinking. thank the lord we didnt do that”

“we need to stop using paper bags in supermarkets, were cutting down too many trees.”
“wait the plastic bags are now killing to many animals,go back to paper”

“we need to build more wind farms, were running out of oil”
“wait they are killing to many birds, stop building them”

etc.etc.etc.

have they ever had a proposition to change something that didnt turn out to make things worse?

why do we ever listen to these people.

CaptainObvious on March 19, 2008 at 8:45 PM

I made the idiotic mistake a while back of replacing the motion sensor lights near my back door with these crappy, polluting lights. Hey, guess what? They don’t exactly “illuminate” really well until they are warm. Not exactly what you’re looking for in a security light. Yup, quite the product the greenies have here.

Sugar Land on March 19, 2008 at 8:45 PM

Damn, and I just bought a box of ‘em ’cause they were on sale at Wal-Mart. I knew I shoulda looked around for some normal light bulbs. Rush had said something about these things but I didn’t listen, trying to save a buck or two.

Tony737 on March 19, 2008 at 8:47 PM

Haliburton will buy out the companies that pproduce the Mercury and then the left can rail on them for what the left forced down our throats.

On a side note, they last FOREVER. We use to go though bulbs like every one-two months, we have had our first ones in place now for 7 months.

WoosterOh on March 19, 2008 at 8:47 PM

why do we ever listen to these people.
CaptainObvious on March 19, 2008 at 8:45 PM

Cause it’s hope and change?

Guardian on March 19, 2008 at 8:47 PM

Quite the day for the ecoheads and Al whore, this and the NASA study, way to go!

dmann on March 19, 2008 at 8:48 PM

Gee, CFLs require more regulation, inconvenience, and barriers to enjoying modern life.

It’s almost like the Greenies planned it that way.

Luddites don’t argue about how much the light costs, they want you in the dark.

Have a serious conversation with a Greenie sometime. Mine usually end after I ask them how they intend to dispose of the 6 billion people they need to get rid of for their primitive sustainability model to work, very large ovens?

Merovign on March 19, 2008 at 8:50 PM

Sugar Land on March 19, 2008 at 8:45 PM

Yup I found that out too, I put them in my kitchen and it took a full minute for them to come up to speed. I was like WTF, I can’t have this crap, when I flick the switch I want full power Captain, not level 3 until the dylanium crystals heat up.

Alden Pyle on March 19, 2008 at 8:51 PM

I light my entire place with them… but I never did it for the environment. They’re cheap to light and last forever. Period.

AbaddonsReign on March 19, 2008 at 8:51 PM

We need to dump these for the LED lights. I read somewhere they’re developing ones to work for regular households.

flyboy777 on March 19, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Ahhh, ignorance is bliss indeed. Years ago, my stepdad worked for a hotel and they changed over a bunch of bulbs and he brought home a box they were going to trash. They were these cool, swirly fluorescent bulbs we’d never seen before! So we used them. They broke or burned out and we just chucked them or vacuumed them up. My son was about 11 at the time. No one knew about this craptastic mess. I wonder if we have to worry now about all the ones I blithely cleaned up just like my regular ol’ bulbs. They did last a while, but not forever. Some got broken in the box on the way home- at least three or four. What about all that Mercury? What about all the ones that got chucked in landfills when all the Katrina houses in the area (including mine) got gutted? At least the worst I ever got with a regular old bulbie was a hot finger while changing or a tiny piece of glass in me.
scaaaaaaaaaaaaaary.

LickyLicky on March 19, 2008 at 8:52 PM

Guardian on March 19, 2008 at 8:47 PM

I guess we should change it to

change and hope we dont make it worse.

CaptainObvious on March 19, 2008 at 8:52 PM

Another problem: use these bulbs as an outdoor light and they confuse daylight orienting insects.

I had a batch of big wasps slamming into my back porch last Summer, at night, after trying one CFL bulb out. I was wondering why these buggers were flying up out of the dark to bash into the walls, so I switched back to incandescent, and it solved the problem.

Plus, every flourescent bulb will have have to be recycled to keep all their mercury out of the groundwater.

Lot of trouble for a temporary “energy” fix.

LED’s, ho!

profitsbeard on March 19, 2008 at 8:56 PM

I refuse to buy these buggers. Knew about the mercury and difficulty disposing of them.

tickleddragon on March 19, 2008 at 8:56 PM

OMG! Toner cartridges are toxic too. I suppose you all worrying about CFL bulbs don’t use laser printers either. Or lead pencils? Or fill your car with gas? Or use a thermometer?

Let’s be a little realistic, shall we? The levels of mercury in CFL bulbs is not toxic.

http://www.instapundit.com/archives2/004578.php

lorien1973 on March 19, 2008 at 8:57 PM

have they ever had a proposition to change something that didnt turn out to make things worse? – CaptainObvious

Well, I haven’t heard of anybody dying from drinking ‘organic’ milk yet … YET.

why do we ever listen to these people. – Capt.O

Because they claim to “experts”? Like the “experts” who said “Eggs are bad for you! Don’t eat eggs!” Then they said “Eggs are good for you.” Then they said “Eat eggs, just not the yokes.” Now they’re bad for you again. (I think, I dunno, I’ve lost count and I don’t care anymore what they say).

A lib friend of mine once ‘turned’ vegan. After about a month, she was all pale and weak, her eyes were sunken in. I told her “If God … sorry, if Mother Nature didn’t want you to eat meat, He/She wouldn’t have given you bicuspids … or is it canines? Eye teeth? Whichever. The SHARP ones.”

Tony737 on March 19, 2008 at 8:58 PM

Hopefully we can get that idiotic incandescent ban lifted; I hate the way CFLs look, the light isn’t right.

Rush mentioned that all makeup artists use incandescent because CFLs are too harsh. Hollywood is sure to get an exemption for those artists, lest CFLs make stars look even more gaunt.

linlithgow on March 19, 2008 at 8:59 PM

Reminds me of how the environmentalists got us all to use plastic bags at the supermarket instead of paper…to save the trees. Of course, now the plastic bags are on the eco’s hit list.

And wind farms…until they discovered they were killing birds. And ethanol…until they discovered people would need more land for corn.

These people never seem to think ahead.

JetBoy on March 19, 2008 at 8:59 PM

The one that really gets me all ticked off is the smaller toilets. The Greenies thought that would cause less waste of water. But then ya gotta flush more often! And there’s no room for your dangler, I guess the guys who designed the new toilet have no need for the extra room.

Tony737 on March 19, 2008 at 9:03 PM

Tony737 on March 19, 2008 at 8:58 PM

I do have to add a caviot, I dont knw if there was a consensus to all these. obviously there couldnt be because we all know once theres a consensus its fact..

CaptainObvious on March 19, 2008 at 9:04 PM

These people never seem to think ahead. – JetBoy

Understatement of the year.

How ’bout those ELF idiots who set fire to SUVs and all the pollution that burns in a car fire? Duh.

Tony737 on March 19, 2008 at 9:05 PM

The one that really gets me all ticked off is the smaller toilets.

Tony737 on March 19, 2008 at 9:03 PM

Oh, heck yeah. That, and the low-flo shower heads.

JetBoy on March 19, 2008 at 9:06 PM

I have never bought one of these, and I never will. If they forbid the purchase of incandescent lightbulbs, I’ll use candles instead.

My rule of thumb is: don’t listen to environmentalist wackos. I don’t recycle either.

Do regular fluorescents have mercury in them?

Sydney Carton on March 19, 2008 at 9:07 PM

Here’s how people need to handle a broken CFL:

At the casino where I work, I personally go through several CFLs a week, just as a matter of regular maintainance on the slot machines. Even though we do have a disposal method,
when they do break on the slot floor (thankfully not very often), we just clean up the mess as best as possible, vacuum the shards, and reopen the area. With 700-1000 machines to look after in my assigned area, I cannot afford to take 45 minutes to clean up after one broken bulb.

BillH on March 19, 2008 at 9:07 PM

Lets not forget the left telling us how millions of kids went to bed hungry, now we have millions of overweight kids. If only they would of left them alone and they went to bed hungry, like the est of us.

WoosterOh on March 19, 2008 at 9:07 PM

These bulbs just continue the idiocy that started with MTBE and now the ethanol lunacy. In this case just turning off the lights in rooms not being used would save more than enough energy. But no, instead of calling people idiots for leaving their lights on, ie public shame, instead they chose to make toxic light bulbs mandatory.

Par for the course.

patrick neid on March 19, 2008 at 9:08 PM

Reminds me of the DDT ban that’s killing hundreds of thousands of victims.

jgapinoy on March 19, 2008 at 8:37 PM

Since the ban, it’s been millions of deaths. And, the “study” which claimed DDT thinned the shells of bird’s eggs has been debunked over and over.

Yet, the governments of several countries in Africa are now advocating the use of DDT inside homes for mossie control.

BacaDog on March 19, 2008 at 9:08 PM

CaptainObvious on March 19, 2008 at 8:45 PM

Did you read the article? It’s not actually “worse”, it’s just not perfect.

Darth Executor on March 19, 2008 at 9:09 PM

The human body turns green during decomposition

EricPWJohnson on March 19, 2008 at 9:09 PM

Aren’t we all glad that Congress passed legislation to make them mandatory!

Just A Grunt on March 19, 2008 at 9:11 PM

Yup I found that out too, I put them in my kitchen and it took a full minute for them to come up to speed. I was like WTF, I can’t have this crap, when I flick the switch I want full power Captain, not level 3 until the dylanium crystals heat up.

Alden Pyle on March 19, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Dilithium crystals! Dilithium crystals! And you call yourself a Trekkie. And they are REAL, for you unbelievers – Wiki has all the details.

Signed,

Scottie

fred5678 on March 19, 2008 at 9:12 PM

Hey Eric! I was lookin’ for ya today, there was a topic that could’ve used your unique perspective, but I forget which one (I must be gettin’ old) and it’s probably gone by now anyway. Lemme see if I can find it…

Tony737 on March 19, 2008 at 9:12 PM

Do regular fluorescents have mercury in them?

Short answer, Sydney- yes. But the level is so low that I’ll wager the average house will never need to worry about it.

BillH on March 19, 2008 at 9:13 PM

Reminds me of how the environmentalists got us all to use plastic bags at the supermarket instead of paper…to save the trees. Of course, now the plastic bags are on the eco’s hit list

Fifteen years later in 2002, when the Australian government commissioned a report into the effects of plastic bags, its authors misquoted the Newfoundland study, mistakenly attributing the deaths to “plastic bags.”

The figure was latched on to by conservationists as proof that the bags were killers. For four years the “typo” remained uncorrected. It was only in 2006 that the authors altered the report, replacing “plastic bags” with “plastic debris”. But they admitted: “The actual numbers of animals killed annually by plastic bag litter is nearly impossible to determine.”
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,336189,00.html

mred on March 19, 2008 at 9:14 PM

Nevermind Eric, it’s gone.

Tony737 on March 19, 2008 at 9:16 PM

I can see the future:

- EPA Regulations concerning the proper disposal of CFL’s.
- Federally mandated disposal fees, probably excessive.
- Strict penalties regarding the improper (read: fee unpaid) disposal of CFL’s.

Don’t think this can happen? It is already this way with tires, paint, and many other hazardous products.

…Remember the good ‘ole days when a light bulb cost 50 cents and was free to throw away?

mojojojo on March 19, 2008 at 9:16 PM

I always DID think Algore looked a little too much like an ventriloquist’s dummy to be real…

Vntnrse on March 19, 2008 at 9:16 PM

Darth Executor on March 19, 2008 at 9:09 PM

didnt they also say pregnant women and babies shouldnt eat fish because they have too much mercury in it and cause deformaties and/or death. I dont seem to remember any study saying the use of incandescents causes this, You?

seems to me adding more mercury into the environment that will then be put into our food chain is not “just not perfect” its worse. but what do I know, Im just a dumb evil conservative

CaptainObvious on March 19, 2008 at 9:18 PM

mred on March 19, 2008 at 9:14 PM

Good article! Thanks for that.

JetBoy on March 19, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Tsk tsk tsk.

For you incandescent fans out there….get industrial 130 volt bulbs, (while they’re still legal). They’ll last almost as long as cfl’s, and they’re cheaper. I have a box full of em in my garage.

DngrMse on March 19, 2008 at 9:19 PM

I wonder what McCain thinks of this? Maybe he shouldn’t have supported a bill that views the 100 watt bulb as the bane of environmental advancement. Real leadership. Just thought I’d poke the sleeping McCain supporters at 8:18 at night (poke poke).

Weight of Glory on March 19, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Candles still work, right?

SouthernGent on March 19, 2008 at 9:22 PM

Good Grief! Can the Garbage Swat Teams be far behind? There are way too many people in this country with too much time on their hands. Or maybe be there are too many people in this country who are determined to enslave us.

thatcher on March 19, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Tupperware will have to be ripped from my cold dead fingers.

I’m just saying

tree hugging sister on March 19, 2008 at 9:24 PM

Oops!

This cant be good for Al and his stock portfolio.

TroubledMonkey on March 19, 2008 at 9:25 PM

Have a serious conversation with a Greenie sometime.
Merovign on March 19, 2008 at 8:50 PM

I didn’t realize that was possible.

Oldnuke on March 19, 2008 at 9:25 PM

Candles still work, right?

SouthernGent on March 19, 2008 at 9:22 PM

Yo bigtime CARBON FOOTPRINT

mred on March 19, 2008 at 9:25 PM

a change driven ironically by environmentalists.

Not really. Ironic, that is.

Once again: Free Market 1, Very Smart Well-Meaning People 0

Hopefully this gets spread around in enough time to stop the budding fiats from the potentate relating CFLs. I guess the one thing you can count on the media for is sensationalism and stirring up panic and outrage.

HitNRun on March 19, 2008 at 9:27 PM

Have a serious conversation with a Greenie sometime. Mine usually end after I ask them how they intend to dispose of the 6 billion people they need to get rid of for their primitive sustainability model to work, very large ovens?

Merovign on March 19, 2008 at 8:50 PM

Funny! I can usually end the conversation with the clipboard warriors (aka greenies) by asking them one simple question:

What temperature is the planet supposed to be?

Gets ‘em every time!! LOL

Califemme on March 19, 2008 at 9:28 PM

Change. I now have to change lightbulbs less often.

Hope. I hope I don’t break one of the damn things.

Oldnuke on March 19, 2008 at 9:30 PM

What temperature is the planet supposed to be?

Califemme on March 19, 2008 at 9:28 PM

ROFL!

I always use this: If you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant, what do you do?

BacaDog on March 19, 2008 at 9:31 PM

This is oh so funny. I have stories, so many stories regarding these assnine bulbs. I fought these and still am.
Looks like this falls in the same category as ‘global warming’, as a new report out shows that the ocean temperatures have not changed significantly (or at all ) for some time. Liberal crap every damn day.

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 9:31 PM

Let’s be a little realistic, shall we? The levels of mercury in CFL bulbs is not toxic.

http://www.instapundit.com/archives2/004578.php

lorien1973 on March 19, 2008 at 8:57 PM

One contains five milligrams of mercury, which would be enough to contaminate 6,000 gallons of drinking water. Low-mercury models have about one-sixth of the amount, but that’s still enough to contaminate 1,000 gallons.

From lorien’s link

Ironically, compact fluorescent bulbs are responsible for less mercury contamination than the incandescent bulbs they replaced, even though incandescents don’t contain any mercury. The highest source of mercury in America’s air and water results from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, at utilities that supply electricity. Since a compact fluorescent bulb uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb, and lasts at least six times longer, it is responsible for far less mercury pollution in the long run. A coal-burning power plant will emit four times more mercury to produce the electricity for an incandescent bulb than for a compact fluorescent.

I am getting confused…

That assumes that the coal burning plants will be shutdown and offset the levels of mercury when we are forced to switch to CFL’s correct?

I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Tell you what lets shutdown all coal plants, once we build the nuclear plants to replace them.

And we can also ban CFL’s at the same time.

That way no mercury will enter into the air/water.

Sounds like a win win to me.

F15Mech on March 19, 2008 at 9:33 PM

And….as a ‘Property Manager’, I was swindled into believing I could save energy on my properties. I even got the fixtures installed free through a PG&E program.
The fixtures are faulty, and the bulbs which are to last much longer are burning out within the first year. They also cost $8.99 a piece. They are also hazardous. F..k that. They still go in the garbage as far as I am concerned. Let the eco-fraks go to the County dump and sort things out themselves.

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 9:35 PM

en·vi·ron·men·tal·ist
–noun
1. an expert on creating environmental problems.
2. any person who advocates or works to protect the air, water, animals, plants, and other natural resources from pollution or its effects without any regards to the environment and consequences thereof.
3. a person who believes that differences between individuals or groups, esp. in moral and intellectual attributes, are predominantly determined by genetic factors, as surroundings, upbringing, or experience (opposed to environmentalist).
4. Advocacy for or work toward protecting the natural environment from destruction or pollution while causing said destruction of the environment.
5. The theory that heredity rather than environment is the primary influence on intellectual growth and cultural development.
6. Jerk (see moron)

Kini on March 19, 2008 at 9:43 PM

The answer(s) is, are ANWAR, new refineries, West Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Nuclear, Canadian Oil (sand)…….the rest of this crap is just that, crap. Look at corn and wheat prices which then become beef and pork and chicken and transportation costs…….Get off the Dem train and get back to basics.

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 9:44 PM

Call me crazy but we used to have mercury races in high school! That’s right, we got mercury out of the chemistry lab and would see who’s blob would run down the school book the fastest in the school library during study hall. I don’t seem to have died yet (after 40 years) and my brain damage doesn’t seem to be too bad too bad too bad too bad. We also used to camp in the state parks in Michigan when the DDT truck used to come around about once every two week and spray the whole park, people and all. Never had a mosquito problem and never grew a third arm out my forehead either.

flytier on March 19, 2008 at 9:45 PM

Food sources should never be used for Energy purposes. NEVER!

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 9:45 PM

this is why i wont use cfl’s

Mojack420 on March 19, 2008 at 9:47 PM

Sure, each CFL and standard flourescent bulb doesn’t carry a fatal level of mercury.

The problem with mercury is cumulative effects. The body can’t process mercury out – damages the kidneys – so from bulb-break-to-bulb-break it begins to accumulate in one’s body. After enough repeated expose to small amounts toxic levels accumulate. Also, it doesn’t take a lot to be a problem:

Even a single CFL could provide toxic levels of exposure for mercury. One contains five milligrams of mercury, which would be enough to contaminate 6,000 gallons of drinking water. Low-mercury models have about one-sixth of the amount, but that’s still enough to contaminate 1,000 gallons.

As for burning candles (or fireplaces for that matter), it results in releasing carbon and other “contaminants” into the atmosphere. So that’s a no-no. California’s Coastal Commission is already putting policies in motion to go after homeowners that actual use their fireplaces.

This would be funny if the Greenie weren’t so sick and powerful. I was at a Chamber of Commerce meeting when someone that several people seemed to know simply mentioned “…don’t forget about Global Warming…” The Committee Chair immediately responded “Yes, we need to get ready for the draconian, and necessary, regulations…that are coming…” Most of those attending fell all over themselves to go “on record” as suppporting “…any mearsures necessary…” I basically got shown the door for suggesting that we need to slow down and make sure we don’t needlessly regulate, add cost, give up freedoms.

Perfesser on March 19, 2008 at 9:51 PM

Did the math… 51 million CFLs contain 1 gallon of mercury.

300 million compact fluorescents were sold in the United States last year.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/opinion/17sun3.html?ref=opinion

freedomplow on March 19, 2008 at 9:52 PM

We also used to camp in the state parks in Michigan when the DDT truck used to come around about once every two week and spray the whole park, people and all. Never had a mosquito problem and never grew a third arm out my forehead either.

flytier on March 19, 2008 at 9:45 PM

We used to play in the DDT fog when we were kids. Guess that explains a lot. :o)

No malaria then. How many die each year now…about a million?

Perfesser on March 19, 2008 at 9:53 PM

Sounds like this is a problem that will take care of itself really fast. Just wait until some mom discovers her kid has broken one and has the dust all over his body. Said kid will be rushed to the hospital and a media firestorm will ensue.
The following class action suit will wipe these things off the market faster than it takes them to get to full power.

Also, what if the terrorists buy a bunch of these and throw them in the local reservoir?

redshirt on March 19, 2008 at 9:53 PM

CaptainObvious on March 19, 2008 at 9:18 PM

How you got worse when the article explicitly states it’s better is beyond my understanding. Mercury isn’t the only pollution threat.

Darth Executor on March 19, 2008 at 9:57 PM

My world is being turned upside down…first global warming is not happening…now CFL are bad for mother earth…electric cars batteries can’t be recycled…
Mother Earth is crying out…I’m OK, get a life!! Quit trying to make it better, you’re making it worse.

right2bright on March 19, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Did the math…

freedomplow, check me on this: That would be enough to contaminate about 1.8B gallons of water? (5 milligrams per bulb, 300M bulbs, 1.5B milligrams of mercury).

That’s a lot of bad water.

redshirt’s take on class action suits fits.

The terrorism angle would make a great Presidential debate question…or maybe Chertoff – but that wouldn’t be fair (hilarious as it would be.).

Perfesser on March 19, 2008 at 10:00 PM

How many times must the enviro-nuts be shown to be morons before people start treating them as such? Just because they shriek the loudest doesn’t make them the smartest.

Grayson on March 19, 2008 at 10:01 PM

If ever you need relief from a funk, crack open a CFL and inhale deeply. Now that’s irrational exuberance.

I never had energy enough to post at HA before I started inhaling CLF’s.

As usual, about the time we start to enjoy them, the lefties will want to make them illegal.

petefrt on March 19, 2008 at 10:02 PM

Anyone want to discuss the Zinc battery in Prius’? Ha, ha. No enviromental concern there, huh?

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:02 PM

I had thought to replace an attic light bulb with one of these CFLs; the damn thing is mounted so high up only Kzinti and people who own, like, ladders can reach it. Less frequent changes, good.

Trouble is, I only go in there for short periods of time (foul-weather smoking area). So, about 70% of the time I spend in there is spent bathed in an eerie pearlescent glow while the bulb (coil?) heats up. Also, it turns out that much if not all of the (modest) energy savings is squandered by turning it on and off with some frequency.

Pfegh!

Gimme a nice tungsten filament. I too intend to stock up, in case the watermelons actually make this ban stick.

Noocyte on March 19, 2008 at 10:06 PM

Aren’t zinc, carbon, etc. on the Periodic Table of Elements, i.e. occuring in nature and therefore natural things found in nature?

Just thinking out loud…

Perfesser on March 19, 2008 at 10:07 PM

These people are so far left they now advertise the wildlife (nature, for Liberals), driving their cars and showing the inept human as a mere spectator, gawking at Nature in motion. Get me a bucket quick.

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:08 PM

Reminds of the Teleco Dam fiasco. Greenies fought it for years to ‘save the snail darter’. When the dam was finally built, the delay increased construction costs by a factor of 6. Oh, and when the dam was compleleted the snail darter population exploded. Go figure.

GarandFan on March 19, 2008 at 10:08 PM

Anybody have a link on the Prius battery issue? I have long wondered about that. How long do they last? What is the cost of replacing them? My car battery last 2-3 years here in Phoenix. If the Prius battery technology is superior, why aren’t they used for all car batteries?
PS, that terrorist question was kinda tongue in cheek. There is a limit here to how much sudafed you can buy cause of crack. Will you be scrutinized if you buy lots of bulbs if they are potentially as dangerous?

redshirt on March 19, 2008 at 10:09 PM

Perfesser, you may know more than I about the Periodic Table, but Al (the INTERNET Gore) owns a lot of Zinc mines……?

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:10 PM

right in his backyard

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:11 PM

collecting Carbon credits from the schmucks in society

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:12 PM

Mother Earth is crying out…I’m OK, get a life!![...].

right2bright on March 19, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Well, that just made me spew some reverse-osmosis-triple-purified water on my Energy Star compliant monitor.

Gee. Thanks.

Seriously, that was downright quotable (if y’don’t mind).

Noocyte on March 19, 2008 at 10:14 PM

It seems buying large quantities of cfl’s would result in a “Green” award. Any “mis-use” would be the result of:

a) US actions in the middle east, forcing the opprossed to take action hear;

b) Over zealous developers not leaving enough land for proper disposal;

c) Evil business people “dumping” illegally.

Perfesser on March 19, 2008 at 10:14 PM

Perfesser, you may know more than I about the Periodic Table, but Al (the INTERNET Gore) owns a lot of Zinc mines……?

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:10 PM

I sit corrected, thank you. The simplest solution is the best. A politicians personal financial interest is the simplest solution indeed. He makes money from mining it, then makes money from carbon credits sold to offset processing it for consumer use, then makes money doing lectures about the “evils” of using it, and finally makes money from regulating it’s disposal after consumers are done using it.

Perfesser on March 19, 2008 at 10:18 PM

Tell you what lets shutdown all coal plants, once we build the nuclear plants to replace them.

F15Mech, we did try that years ago and the “environmentalists” shut that down pretty quick. It’s farcical that these people who claim to be so concerned about the environment can’t seem to look down the road at all. And they get many people to jump on their bandwagon, they get their way, then years down the road we get to see the sad results. They were wrong wrong wrong! And yet we’re still stuck with whatever it was they got passed or done.

4shoes on March 19, 2008 at 10:42 PM

Perfesser, we think alike. Now maybe that’s not a positive….who knows? But thanks for the recognition:):)

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:46 PM

This environmental experiment brought to you by liberalism.

And the idiots in Congress even want to go so far as to ban regular incandescent bulbs!

CP on March 19, 2008 at 10:51 PM

I use the CFLs in the lights that my daughter leaves on all the time. She complained about the lighting at first, but is too cheap to buy her own bulbs. It did cut down the electric bill.

When I was a kid, we put mercury in the palm of our hand during science class on a fairly regular basis. I don’t think it bothered any of us.

Now. I have to go for my iron lung session.

TugboatPhil on March 19, 2008 at 10:56 PM

and…..(CP), they want to destroy the Auto Industry by setting limits that are not only unreachable,but unsellable. Americans drive the market, not the politicians.

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:56 PM

I think I hear John Edwards and his pals licking their chops… weird sound, sends a shiver up my spine

TheCulturalist on March 19, 2008 at 10:57 PM

Another environmental backfire that hasn’t been mentioned: the California wildfires being more intense because the nuts will not let people clear brush and overgrowth.

carbon_footprint on March 19, 2008 at 10:58 PM

First the “low-flow” toilets that require that you flush two or three times to accomplish the same thing, now this.
We should NEVER allow government to have this much power over us.

edgehead on March 19, 2008 at 10:59 PM

Can I have this? NO! Can I do this? NO! Can I read this and discuss it? NO! Can I pee now, I really have to go? NO! We don’t have enough staff and dollars to accomodate you. Tomorrow would be better for us. Thank you Libs.

geminicontender on March 19, 2008 at 10:59 PM

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