Despite all of the media hype about going “Green” these light bulbs are a nightmare for our health and safety.
100% of compact fluorescent bulbs are now made overseas. This means little to no regulation as to what is used to manufacture them. CFL bulbs contain mercury, which is toxic.
Lighting stores are regulated as to how they are allowed to dispose of these bulbs but what about all of us? What do we do with them when they are dead or broken? Most of us sweep or vacuum up the pieces and toss them in the trash. That trash is taken to the dump and ends up in a landfill, which ends up leaching back down into the ground and likely over time into our water supply.
If you break a CFL bulb, what are you supposed to do?
1. Leave the room immediately. Allow any and all dust to settle to avoid breathing it in.
- Sweep it up with a piece of paper’s edge to avoid stirring particles up again. Do not use a vacuum.
- Put the remnants in a sealed plastic bag.
- Wear rubber gloves and wash your hands thoroughly as it can be absorbed through the skin as well as breathed in.
- Bring it to the dump separately and let the workers know.
Mercury is a developmental neurotoxin, which can have the following effects on the human body:
While it can be eliminated through normal bodily processes, too much will cause toxic issues such as –
- Lung irritation
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Brain damage
- Central nervous system issues
- Can be fatal at higher doses
- Linked to cancer.
Additionally, Mercury is not the only danger CFL’s represent. These bulbs emit cancer-causing chemicals such as phenol, naphthalene, and styrene when switched on and also emit UVA and UVC due to cracks in the phosphor coating. When read by an electro magnetic detector are shown to give off a good amount of electro magnetic radiation whereas conventional light bulbs (Edison Bulbs) give off none. Many complain that they cannot be in a room with fluorescent lights because they feel “unwell”. This isn’t in their heads.
Now that we have shot down the good or you or good for the environment argument, I know the next point that will come up will be that they are more economical. But are they really?
CFL’s were originally intended for commercial use in buildings that they would be turned on and left that way for a long period of time. CFL’s are rated by the number of starts. In a residential home where the light is flicked on and off numerous times daily, the rating is often not and accurate reflection or prediction.
If you want to save money on your electric bill, us traditional incandescent lighting and install dimmer switches. Mood lighting is wonderful and once you get used to dimming lights to be comfortable for your eyes you will be surprised how much flipping on a bright full blast light will bother you in someone else’s home.