A Million Trees


Parents can protect their children from mercury risks and still get the benefits of energy efficient bulbs

CFLs On Sale! And A Mercury Update

February 27, 2008 |

The Ace Hardware store on Broad Street in Cranston (just south of the Norwood Ave intersection) has 60 watt compact flourscent bulbs on sale for 49 cents! If you’ve been wanting to switch but daunted by the price, here’s your chance.

cfls.jpgA caveat, though, especially if you have young children in the house, you need to be aware of CFL hazards — the bulbs do contain small amounts of mercury. And remember the bulbs need to properly disposed of — don’t just toss them in the trash.
Here’s a recent update from Clean Water Action. Click on “Read more” for the full text and links for more info.

Parents Advised to Use Common Sense with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs to Avoid Mercury Risk

Boston—In a report released today, Shedding Light on Mercury Risks from CFL Breakage, advocates urged the public to use energy efficient light bulbs in their homes, but to take extra precautions to reduce the risks associated with breaking mercury-containing compact fluorescent bulbs.

“Compact fluorescent bulbs are growing in popularity because they reduce global warming pollution and cut electricity costs,” said Sheila Dormody, Rhode Island Director of Clean Water Action. “By taking some common sense precautions, parents can protect their children from mercury risks and still get the benefits of energy efficient bulbs.”

Recent tests conducted by the State of Maine confirmed results of earlier state studies which suggest that, under certain conditions, breaking a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) can pose a health risk, especially to infants, pregnant women or young children. The results from the Maine tests are expected to be released soon.

Experts caution parents to avoid using CFLs in fixtures like table lamps that can easily be knocked over, especially in homes with energetic children and pets. When a CFL does break, the most important risk-reducing steps are to use the following safe clean up procedures:
1) Ventilate the breakage area by opening a window.
2) Pregnant women and children should leave the room while the breakage is cleaned up.
3) Do not use a vacuum cleaner or a broom.
4) Parents should also consider removing carpeting or upholstered furniture if a CFL has broken on them, especially from an infant’s room.

“Currently, using CFLs is still the brightest idea out there,” said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project. “Yet both government agencies and the manufacturers have a responsibility to inform consumers about what to do—and what not to do—when a CFL breaks. Our message is not ‘Be afraid,’ it is ‘Be informed, and be prepared.’”

The report also recommends the adoption of more comprehensive environmental and human health guidelines by decision makers that, in addition to energy-efficiency, address other concerns, including:
· Reduced toxicity while maintaining performance;
· Improved breakage resistance and longer lamp life (which can reduce manufacturing, transportation and disposal impacts);
· Sustainable manufacturing processes (such as the use of encapsulated mercury-dosing technologies);
· Responsible end-of-life management (particularly through producer responsibility in funding lamp collection and retailer collection programs)
· Innovative technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that use less- or non-toxic materials, that have significantly longer life, are much more efficient for certain applications, and/or that offer other measurable environmental benefits.

CFLs significantly reduce mercury, greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions coming from coal-fired power plants and are three times more efficient than standard incandescent light bulbs.

Yet today, only about 2% of the mercury-containing lamps discarded by consumers and less than 30% of those discarded by government and industry are recycled. Broken mercury-containing lights release an estimated 2 to 4 tons of mercury vapor into the environment each year and that number is projected to grow as more lamps are used.

“Fluorescent lamps are unnecessarily breaking and releasing mercury in homes across the United States when consumers toss these fragile items into their waste baskets, trash compacters and recycling bins,” explained Alicia Culver, executive director of the Green Purchasing Institute, who contributed to the report. “Lamp manufacturers could prevent a significant amount of mercury releases in homes by better labeling their products, offering more mercury-free options, and funding a nationwide lamp recycling program as they have already done in Europe,” she added.

 


1 Comment so far
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Excellent article on CFL’s… and the CFL at Evil Carbon!!

Evil Carbon

Comment by Evil Carbon




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