By Peter Daley
Mountains of these Mercury containing bulbs are going to end up in our land fills all over the world, and eventually this Mercury will end up in waterways, and fisheries, plus the food chain. There are still no systems in place to collect and dispose of these new energy efficient light bulbs safely. Even though Australia, Britain, US, and China are making it mandatory for everyone to use them, plus more countries are on the way to instigating the same policy.
It is great that they are a lot more energy efficient than the old bulbs and can save up to 12% off you electricity bill, because they can produce the same light as the old bulb, using 33% of the energy. Surely there are alternative technologies that would save energy, and not place personal health and the environment at risk.
Are we replacing one problem for another? Each one of these energy efficient bulbs contain 5 mg of Mercury. Mercury is very toxic and can cause serious heath and environmental issues. Did you know that if one of these bulbs explodes in your house, you should immediately leave the house and let it air for 15 to 20 minutes to let the Mercury vapour dissipate? Normal fluorescent tubes contain more mercury than the energy efficient “Compact fluorescent Light” bulbs (CFL). Mercury poisoning is not very nice. Read this article on Minamata disease at Wikipedia.
Normal coal fired power stations release a lot of Mercury into the environment. The argument is that by using these energy saving bulbs we will be burning less coal, That means less total Mercury released into the environment. It's just wiser and smarter to keep as much Mercury as you can out of the environment, or your home.
In Europe they are putting processes in place to collect these bulbs. How about doing the same here? What is the matter with our politicians? If we don't use, or have safer environmental alternatives, we need to have efficient collection, and safe disposal systems in place, to collect the bulbs, before mountains of them end up in land fills.
By the way, any broken bulbs and glass bits should be stored in a sealed glass jar until they are properly disposed of! That includes old style fluorescent tubs. Researcher has found it is almost impossible to get mercury out of household carpet, if contaminated. Talking about spin, tell you why the technology is so good but not the dangers and precautions you should be taking if you use it! Is this going to be another Asbestos saga. Promote and sell the product, make the profit, and then leave it to future generations to clean up the heath and environmental disaster it has created!
General Electric in 2007, announced it had developed an incandescent bulb that was as energy efficient and as bright as CFL bulbs, but then stops development. Why, I ask!
© Peter Daley 2009
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