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Save The Planet?

Our Goverment has come up with another grand idea for us to conserve energy and 'Save The Planet.'

Abolish the incandescent bulbs and replace them with more expensive but high energy-efficient bulbs, this being the Compact Fluorescent Light bulb or CFL.

Great idea, right?

Wrong!

CFL

The plan is that we will begin weaning or phasing out the incandescent bulbs starting in 2012 and slowly replace them with CFLs. By 2014 it is intended for all Americans to use the CFLs and CFLs only.

So why is this bad you ask?

Let me explain it as I understand it to be true.

First, our Government said that by doing this it would save money for the consumer and create jobs. Well, I beg to differ. GE (General Electric) has been a dependable, trusted name in the standard bulb for as long as I can remember. But are we going to stand by them as we make the transition? No.

GE employees are now one of the unemployed. Who is going to be making our new and improved (sarcasm) bulbs? China. Yes, China. They can make the bulbs much cheaper than here so there ya go. But the good thing is they didn't lie. They created jobs alright, just in the wrong country.

Secondly, the bulbs will save money for the consumer. This is debatable as I found that CFLs have a shorter life span if turned on and off often. Also, how often are you going to use this expensive bulb in a garage, closet or attic? You will probably never repay the price.

Where will the Mercury go?
Where will the Mercury go?

Bulbs and Enviroment

The overall concept is that once a bulb is burnt out you will take it to a recycling site that accepts the bulb and drop it there. Great idea, in theory.

My neighbors are to lazy to pick up their yard full of cans and drop them in a recycling can let alone make a special trip to the recycling center for a bulb. Are you really thinking that all Americans are going to set aside their used bulbs for a yearly trip to the recycling center? Doubtful.

CFL bulbs contain Mercury. Our landfills are bound to be filled with theses bulbs and mercury will not only be in the air we breathe, but our land and waters as well.   

Mercury is a Hazard
Mercury is a Hazard

Mercury and CFL Bulbs

CFLs contain mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause kidney and brain damage. The bulb contains about 5 milligrams. Doesn't seem like much but it is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water and making it beyond safe drinking levels.

According to the Office of Research Facilities, 'Air borne mercury is highly toxic when inhaled. Metallic mercury slowly evaporates when exposed to the air. The air in a room can reach unhealthy levels just from the mercury in a broken thermometer.' So, if you will, imagine a landfill of broken bulbs? 

This next paragraph is word for word from EnergyStar.gov.

'CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury – an amount equal to the mercury in 125 CFLs. Mercury is an essential part of CFLs; it allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use.'

That's great. So, if it is not broken we are okay. Whew. I was worried. (There is that sarcasm again).

I was doing some reading and research on the chance that I would accidently 'break' a bulb in my home. To my surprise, there are quite a few things that is needed to be done to protect your safety.

Broken Bulbs

So, I broke a bulb on my living room carpet. Uggh. So just sweep it up and be done right? Easy enough? Nope.

First, it is instructed that you turn off your central air, open a window and remove everyone; including pets from the room for at least 15 minutes or more.

Secondly, clean it up. Oh no you don't- Put down that broom and get away from the vacuum! You must use a piece of stiff cardboard to scoop the fragments of glass and powder into a jar that can be sealed! They suggest a canning jar. (I know I have just tons of those around-not)

Then you must use tape, preferably duct tape to pick up the remaining pieces and place them in the jar.

Then take a wet wipe and clean up the rest and place that in the jar as well.

If you must- I stress must- vacuum, make sure all pieces are up and then vacuum. However, when you are through you must take the remains out of your vacuum or the bag if vacuum requires such and put this in the jar as well.

Now that you have accomplished the clean up task, throw it away. OOOPS- no no no, you cannot. Pack it up in the car and bring it to the designated recycling center.

Also, the next few times you clean that 'spill area' it is said for you to open your windows and turn off the central air once again for 15 minutes after cleaning.

So what have we determined so far?

CFL bulbs are not going to save me much money, they are a hazard to our environment and a definite hazard to my family and I if broken in our home. Well, let's continue to examine this shall we?

This is a personal statement, but I cannot see as well with these bulbs. I have one by my desk that my daughters school sent home with her. I cannot see to save my life and I get frequent headaches. I'm assuming that the headaches are associated with straining to see, but still.

So, here are a few more concerns about the CFL bulb.

  1. Most CFLs do not work on dimmer switches. In actuality, it may damage your switch.
  2. During Winter months, the CFL fails. It does not work as well in the colder climate. They take a long time to warm up and do not produce heat as the standard bulb does. Therefore, it may increase your heating bill in these months.
  3. Due to these lights not producing much heat, it has been reported that the bugs that were once put off by the heat of the garage light or porch light are now making nests in them. The light is attracting them as before, but there is no heat to keep them away. May become an unnecessary nuisance or financial spend to rid them.
  4. May Cause Seizures. This complaint has been reported since the early 1940's. Headaches and seizures have been personally linked to these bulbs although the makers of CFLs deny such connection.
  5. Cannot use on a touch lamp or enclosed fixture such as a porch lamp or ceiling lamp. A 3-step lamp is doable but this bulb probaly won't work on the first click. Possibly the 3rd or 4th.
  6. Motion Sensors- not a good idea either. Life of the bulb is reduced by 25-35%. If the sensor turns on and off more than 20 times in a 24 hour period - forget it.

Finally, besides brain degradation, skin disorders, visual impairment, bleeding gums and disorders of vital organs, being subject to Mercury poisoning is a walk in the park. No worries right? No.

I agree that we need to start taking care of our planet. I am not against that. But causing financial hardship for employees of GE and their families, causing an avoidable but unrealistic landfill nightmare of CFL bulbs and the effects of Mercury, and the obvious health-care nightmares and claims that will appear due to these bulbs,is it really worth it?

Please reconsider this foolish plan. It is not helping us.

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Comments 6 comments

eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

EPA released new NESHAP air quality standards the go into effect in 2012. On is Mercury reduction, and then the government turns around and does this to us. What is going on there.

Keep on hubbing!


pcoach 6 years ago

PaulaH: What a fantastic hub! I have to be honest with you. I saw a comment you made in another hub about voting and that you don't vote, it's fixed. I was ready to write you off as a quack (forgive me) but I hope someone will dissuade(sp?) you of that notion because it does matter. My point (to offset your argument on this) is that if you don't vote, how will you even know or have a right to question whether it was fixed or not? It makes a difference, Paula. Please, I'm giving you proper respect in this hub, but please, give me one speck of respect and believe that it makes a difference. I beg of you, sincerely, please vote in November.

As for your hub, how wonderfully researched. This has been a topic that just kills me with its lack of common sense and its connection to dirty politics. Thank you so much for putting this in a way to the public that everyone can understand. I appreciate your research and the time it took you to put this together. This really is serious business. This really is great work. Thank you.


PaulaHenry1 profile image

PaulaHenry1 6 years ago from America Author

Thank you for not writing me off :) It does appear that our Politicains don't do their homework before making decisions do they? I really hope people make their thoughts known and object to this 'potential killer' of a plan.

Thanks for the comments!


lindsays5624 profile image

lindsays5624 5 years ago

Well the ban is certainly in place now and I think a good thing. I like your hub


Prielichele 3 years ago

My partner and i employed to receive high on existence yet these days I've truly accumulated a amount of resistance.


Alfredo Riordan 3 years ago

[quote]8192 characters left.[/quote]

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