Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Only hazardous light bulbs will be legal

Congress outlawed safe light bulbs. Only hazardous lights will be legal. Not this year, but sooner than you think. I am not making this up. Who heard the debate? The Daily Green reports:
Under the measure, all light bulbs must use 25% to 30% less energy than today's products by 2012 to 2014. The phase-in will start with 100-watt bulbs in 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70% more efficient. Compact fluorescent bulbs already meet that 70% efficiency standard. They also last six to 10 times longer than incandescents. Compact fluorescents now cost around $2, vs. about 50 cents for an incandescent. Halogen bulbs, specially designed energy-saving incandescents and the emerging light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
NW Cable News looks at the hazards. Read carefully, then tell me why I should not remove the ones already in my home:
“Well, we have a lot of hazardous waste,” said Dave Neal. As the director of Waste Management for Ada County [Idaho], Dave Neal knows a thing or two about toxic trash. “We have a lot of paints, a lot of solvents, a lot of poisons and material of that type,” said Neal. That's why he's very cautious when handling this household item, commonly thought to be nothing more than an attempt to "go green." “You really don't wanna break these,” said Neal. These lights are energy efficient bulbs [compact flourescent]. They use fluorescent lighting and consume far less energy than a standard incandescent bulb. But they also contain the toxic element - mercury. If the bulb is broken, mercury is released and can enter your system in a matter of seconds. “You can get dizzy, you can feel nauseous,” said Kai Elgethun. State toxicologist, Kai Elguthen, says those minor symptoms are the least of your worries if you've been exposed. “The biggest concern with mercury is potential effects on the nervous system,” said Elgethun. To avoid life long health effects, toxicology experts say if you break an energy efficient bulb, leave the room and stay out for at least 15 minutes to let the air clear. Don't vacuum the mess up, that air could spread toxic mercury droplets all around your home. Instead using rubber gloves, sweep up the mess, put it in a plastic bag and take it to be disposed as hazardous waste. “They're very toxic and people need to be aware that they give off a kind of a warm glow, but they can be very dangerous to your health if handled improperly,” said Neal.

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