Those of you who peruse the New York Post - did you see this article yesterday?http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/bulb_ban_dark_consequences_RFipt2jv0d2BZs0QmGD9aL
I'm not sure that anyone is truly aware of the danger that CFLs pose to us as inhabitants of this planet. Here's an excerpt from Deroy Murdock's article:
Compact Fluorescent Lamps, which Washington hopes will replace incandescent ones, brighten slowly, function poorly with dimmer knobs and emit a color of light that many find unappealing.
Even worse, according to EnergyStar.gov, each CFL contains 4 milligrams of toxic mercury. An average CFL includes enough mercury to pollute 528 gallons of water.
As the EPA warns, "High exposures to inorganic mercury may result in damage to the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system, and the kidneys."
Breaking a CFL triggers a significant health hazard that requires a 10-step cleanup. Among other things, EPA recommends "opening a window or door to the outdoor environment." No problem . . . unless you occupy an apartment, hotel room, or office with sealed windows.
"No problem", indeed.
What is tjhe reasoning behind this? It simply can't be that we are in such a rush to reduce power consumption that our lawmakers are going to legislate that we MUST install hazardous devices within our homes...there must me more to this initiative.
Who benefits from this?
I quickly perused a number of websites that purport to "debunk" the dangers of CFLs...the majority of them do not even touch the issue of the presence of mercury within directly. Of course...this is the entire issue. Who cares that power consumption is less? If you break the bulb, and you don't have proper ventilation at that moment...you are as good as DEAD.
Sounds alarmist? Let's look at mercury's toxicity:
Toxicity and safety
Mercury and most of its compounds are extremely toxic and are generally handled with care; in cases of spills involving mercury (such as from certain thermometers or fluorescent light bulbs) specific cleaning procedures are used to avoid toxic exposure. Essentially, it is recommended to physically merge smaller droplets on hard surfaces, combining them into a single larger pool for easier removal by using an eyedropper, or by pushing it into a disposable container which must then be dealt with according to local regulations. Vacuum cleaners and brooms should not be used because they cause greater dispersal of the mercury. Afterwards, sulfur powder, zinc powder, or some other element that readily forms an amalgam (alloy) with mercury (e.g. finely-divided Cu or Bi) at ordinary temperatures is sprinkled over the area and subsequently collected and properly disposed of. Cleaning porous surfaces and clothing is not effective at removing all traces of mercury and it is therefore advised to discard these kinds of items should they be exposed to a mercury spill.
Mercury can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes, so containers of mercury are securely sealed to avoid spills and evaporation. Heating of mercury, or compounds of mercury that may decompose when heated, is always carried out with adequate ventilation in order to avoid exposure to mercury vapor. The most toxic forms of mercury are its organic compounds, such as dimethylmercury and methylmercury. However, inorganic compounds, such as cinnabar are also highly toxic by ingestion or inhalation of the dust. Mercury can cause both chronic and acute poisoning.
Due to the health effects of mercury exposure, industrial and commercial uses are regulated in many countries. The World Health Organization, OSHA, and NIOSH all treat mercury as an occupational hazard, and have established specific occupational exposure limits. Environmental releases and disposal of mercury are regulated in the U.S. primarily by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Case control studies have shown effects such as tremors, impaired cognitive skills, and sleep disturbance in workers with chronic exposure to mercury vapor even at low concentrations in the range 0.7–42 μg/m3. A study has shown that acute exposure (4 – 8 hours) to calculated elemental mercury levels of 1.1 to 44 mg/m3 resulted in chest pain, dyspnea, cough, hemoptysis, impairment of pulmonary function, and evidence of interstitial pneumonitis. Acute exposure to mercury vapor has been shown to result in profound central nervous system effects, including psychotic reactions characterized by delirium, hallucinations, and suicidal tendency. Occupational exposure has resulted in broad-ranging functional disturbance, including erethism, irritability, excitability, excessive shyness, and insomnia. With continuing exposure, a fine tremor develops and may escalate to violent muscular spasms. Tremor initially involves the hands and later spreads to the eyelids, lips, and tongue. Long-term, low-level exposure has been associated with more subtle symptoms of erethism, including fatigue, irritability, loss of memory, vivid dreams, and depression.
Research on the treatment of mercury poisoning is limited. Currently available drugs for acute mercurial poisoning include chelators N-acetyl-D, L-penicillamine (NAP), British Anti-Lewisite (BAL), 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS), and dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). In one small study including 11 construction workers exposed to elemental mercury, patients were treated with DMSA and NAP. Chelation therapy with both drugs resulted in the mobilization of a small fraction of the total estimated body mercury. DMSA was able to increase the excretion of mercury to a greater extent than NAP.
Fish and shellfish have a natural tendency to concentrate mercury in their bodies, often in the form of methylmercury, a highly toxic organic compound of mercury. Species of fish that are high on the food chain, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, albacore tuna, and tilefish contain higher concentrations of mercury than others. As mercury and methylmercury are fat soluble, they primarily accumulate in the viscera, although they are also found throughout the muscle tissue. When this fish is consumed by a predator, the mercury level is accumulated. Since fish are less efficient at depurating than accumulating methylmercury, fish-tissue concentrations increase over time. Thus species that are high on the food chain amass body burdens of mercury that can be ten times higher than the species they consume. This process is called biomagnification. Mercury poisoning happened this way in Minamata, Japan, now called Minamata disease.
I guess it should be obvious that it is my opinion, based on this information, that any law mandating the usage of CFLs be rescinded as soon as possible. Apparently, no thought whatsoever went into the pros and cons of this law, and the repercussions could be catastrophic.
Write or call Congress, or contact your representative(s), and ask that they work to repeal or to change this law, so that their are options for saner and safer choices for all of us.
Let me end this article with a link to Fred's Blog, which says what I wanted to say here much better than I could - he begins this posting with this quote:
“It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.” — Frederic Bastiat, The Law.