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CFL TECHNOLOGY: FACTS AND FICTION

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POINTS FROM YOUR BLOG:- MARCH 2008 (Updated upto 14-3-08(sOURCE:http://www.huffi 14-3-08(sOURCE:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danny-seo/the-green-housengtonpost.com/danny-seo/the-green-houseeffect-e_b_91296.htmltITLE Dany Saos The Green House Effect: Eco Appliance Technology (yR BLOG 14-3-08) oN rEFRIGERATORS:-A refrigerator that is 10 years old is likely to be using twice as muc h energy as the first day you plugged plugg ed it in. And since a refrigerator is on 24/7, 24 /7, that can be a real energy hog in the home. And don't get me started on SubZeros: they are like the Hummers of  refrigeration. diswashers:-Believe it or not, running a full dishwasher is much more energy and water efficient than doing it by hand. Lazy environmentalism! Washing dishes by hand can use up to 50 percent more water than a water-efficient, Energy Star rated dishwasher. New models of dishwashers today--- like the Bosch model---use only 4 gallons of water an d up to 41% less energy. The best eco-solution is to fill up a dishwasher and run it when it's full Old refrigerators are full of Freon gas - the chemical used to create cold - that needs to be be  properly removed before the refrigerator can be scrapped for recycling. If it's not properly properly disposed of, Freon can escape and contribute to the erosion of the ozone layer. the best washing machine is a front loading washing machine. Not only is the most efficient in energy and water usage---saving about 5000 gallons of water per year---but it also does a better   job in getting clothes clean. In top loading machines, clothing is constantly agitated in dirty water  SECOND POST:- 14-3-2008 Merits of CFL Lamps:- They use a quarter of the energy of incandescents, they last seven to ten times longer, they save homeowners money and they help reduce our impact on the environment. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and intensities and a lot of people are using them these days. Most everyone I talk to about abo ut CFLs are very satisfied with their bulbs and the energy savings and want to get more.

What about Mercury? However, some people are very concerned about one aspect of CFLs: mercury. The comment below is common: What about the Mercury clean-up when they break? Floresent [sic] lamps all have mercury in them and the main problem with them is that it is a vapor…Why vap or…Why would you fix one so-called  problem with another even greater problem…The ground water will become

contaminated with this heavy metal and we will not be able to use it What is the correct position?

 .

Using CFLs actually helps to REDUCE to REDUCE the amount of mercury in the environment. Here in Minnesota, over 75% of our electricity is produced by burning coal. This process not only  produces massive amount of carbon dioxide, a dangerous greenhouse gas, but also mercury. By using products such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and therefore using less electricity, you can help reduce the amount of coal burned and thus the amount of pollutants pumped into our 

environment. In fact, coal-fired power accounts for roughly 40% of mercury emissions in the United States , according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Even if the CFL breaks and the 4 milligrams of mercury escapes, it is polluting less than an incandescent would. If you never break that CFL, and recycle it properly at a local household hazardous waste site or hardware store, then you will be emitting a fifth of the mercury than if  you were using incandescents to light your home. If a CFL breaks, you’re still polluting less than if you were using an incandescent. You just simply follow the proper procedure to clean up the  bulb - open windows and let the room air out, do not use bare hands or a vacuum cleaner and  bring the pieces in a plastic bag with your other bulbs when you recycle them. For more information on reports of the “harmful” nature of compact fluorescents and all the details about safely cleaning up a broken CFL, visit Snopes. Remember: all CFLs must be recycled! Visit earth911.org to find out where you can recycle old or broken CFLs in your community WHAT DOES snopes SAY?

Light Fingered Claim: When broken, energy-saving light bulbs (CFLs) loose dangerous amounts of

mercury into a home. Status:  Multiple: l CFLs contain mercury, a dangerous substance:  True. l While mercury stays safely contained in intact CFLs, it escapes from broken CFLs into the immediate surroundings: surroundings:  True. l The amount of mercury contained in one CFL bulb poses a grave danger to a home's inhabitants:False. l But folks do need to handle the breakage of a CFL bulb with a great deal of care and

follow certain procedures in removing the broken bulb and its contents from the home:  True. l An environmental clean-up crew needs be called in to deal with the mercury dispersed by one broken CFL bulb:  False Example: [Farah, 2007] 

Origins: Compact Fluorescent Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), whose use is estimated to result in a $47

savings in energy costs over the life of each bulb versus incandescents, incandescents, have had their critics. They take longer to switch on. Regular CFLs won't work with dimmer switches. They can interfere with radios, cordless phones, and remote controls. They also contain mercury, a fact that causes no small amount of concern in light of how dangerous that substance is. Yet the amount housed in each bulb is very small,about 5 milligrams, which is about the size of the period at the end of a sentence. And, provided the bulbs aren't broken open, none of that leaches into the home. Like batteries, used CFLs need to be disposed at a toxic waste depot rather than tossed out with the ordinary household trash. Because mercury is cumulative, this poisonous element would add up if all the spent bulbs went into a landfill. Instead, the mercury in dead bulbs is reclaimed at such depots and recycled. As to the potential for harm posed by mercury escaping from broken bulbs, says the King County Hazardous Waste Program: "Crushing and breaking fluorescent lamps release mercury vapor and mercury-containing mercury-containing phosphor powder. These can be difficult to contain." Yet the recommended clean-up process does not. WASHINGTON — Brandy Bridges heard the claims of government officials, environmentalists and retailers like Wal-Mart all pushing the idea of  replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving and moneysaving compact fluorescent lamps. So, last month, the Prospect, Maine, resident went out and bought two dozen CFLs and and began installing them in her home. One broke. A month later, her daughter's bedroom remains sealed off with plastic like the site of  a hazardous materials accident, while Bridges works on a way to pay off a $2,000 estimateby a company specializing in environmentally sound cleanups of the mercury inside the bulb. [Click here for the rest of the article.] http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp involve calling in a HazMat team. Says the EPA in its advisory about dealing with broken CFLs: Before Clean-up: Ventilate the Room 1. Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out. 2. Open a window and leave l eave the room for 15 minutes or more. 3. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces 4. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning  jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. bag.

5. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. 6. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag. 7. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug 8. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. 9. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. 10. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken. 11. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag. Disposal of Clean-up Materials 12. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash. 13. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials. 14. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center. Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Ventilate the t he Room During and After Vacuuming 15. The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming. 16. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15, minutes after vacuuming is completed. Maine's Department of Environmental Environmental Protection concurs concurs,, even though it affixes additional steps and cautions to the process: What if I accidentally break a fluorescent bulb in my home? The most important thing to remember is to never use a vacuum. A standard vacuum will spread mercury containing dust throughout the area as well as contaminating the vacuum. What you should do is: l Ventilate the area. l If possible, reduce the temperature. l Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses, coveralls or old clothing, and a dust mask to keep bulb dust and glass from being inhaled.

l Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed

container. l Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust. There are several ways to do this. You can use a disposable broom and dustpan, two stiff pieces of  paper or one of the many commercial mercury spill kits available. l Put all material into an airtight plastic bag. Pat the area with the sticky side of duct, packing or masking tape. Wipe the area with a damp cloth. l Put all waste and materials used to clean up the bulb in a secure closed container and label it "Universal Waste - broken lamp". l Take the container for recycling as universal wastes. To determine where your town has made arrangements for recycling of this type of waste, call your town office or check out the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/hazardouswaste/uwmuniciplemaster.xls Remember, the next time you replace a bulb, be sure to put a drop cloth on the floor so that any accidental breakage can be easily cleaned up. The advice proffered by Maine's DEP is interesting, in light of the story about the unfortunate householder whose broken bulb supposedly cost her more than $2,000 in clean-up fees. Brandy Bridges lives in Prospect, Maine, and it was Maine's DEP that sent an expert to her home to test for mercury contamination, then recommended she have a local environmental cleanup firm tackle the problem. The account detailing her experience began reaching us in April 2007 in the form of the World Net Daily  article quoted above. It has subsequently been repeated in an article published both by Fox News and the Financial Post. All of these published accounts drew their information from a 12 April 2007 article in the Ellsworth American, a newspaper published in Ellsworth, Maine. According to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald , what actually happened after Ms. Bridges dropped a CFL bulb on the floor of her home is as follows: Bridges knew when the bulb shattered that the mercury inside had spilled onto the carpet and needed to be cleaned up carefully. She resisted the urge to vacuum, made some calls and got in touch with the state Department of  Environmental Protection. So far, so good. The DEP, which didn't have a lot of experience with shattered compact fluorescent bulbs, told Bridges one option was to call a hazardous materials cleanup contractor, something officials now agree was serious overkill. She made the call and almost hit the floor herself. The contractor said the cleanup could cost $2,000,

Bridges said. Because she didn't have two grand to hand over, Bridges sealed up the bedroom with plastic and tape. She also talked to a local newspaper to warn people to think twice about buying the bulbs. DEP officials, meanwhile, tried to assure her there really was no need to spend any money or seal up the room. But she wasn't about to trust the same government that had urged her to buy the bulb and, in her view, was changing its story about how dangerous it was to her daughter. The DEP eventually did help her clean it up. They [later] removed part of the carpet, though officials say that was only necessary because the mercury sat for two months. Whatever occurred in the Bridges home (the Maine DEP has since posted its account of the incident), Maine's DEP is not now recommending householders need bring in an environmental clean-up crews to deal with broken CFL bulbs, even if it is advocating the use of sticky tape, disposable dustpans, and sealed plastic bags. CFLs need to be handled with far more consideration than do conventional incandescent bulbs, if only because cleaning up a broken energy-saving bulb is a more involved process. Consumers should therefore exercise caution regarding where and how they install CFLs in their homes; they should be careful to not break these bulbs as they install and remove them and avoid putting them in lamps likely to be sent crashing to the floor by someone knocking them from a side table or tripping over electrical cords. CFLs save consumers money in the long run, as these bulbs draw far less power (resulting in lower electric bills), and they last longer (so they don't need to be replaced nearly as often). But they also work to save the environment by lessening greenhouse gases. If every American home replaced just one standard incandescent light bulb with a long-lasting CFL, the resultant energy savings would eliminate greenhouse gases equal to the emissions of 800,000 cars, according to the U.S. Energy Star program. Australia has committed to a mandatory phase-out of incandescents by 2010. Ontario has moved to ban conventional incandescent bulbs and other inefficient lighting technologies by 2012. (While homeowners and businesses in that province won't be penalized for continuing to use the older bulbs, it will become illegal for retailers to sell them.)

(My comment submitted for views)

(“But in the recent past, there have been articles stating that broken CFL bulbs are harmful to pregnant ladies, cause migraine because of uneven spread of light, shadows are only hazily visible, and fitting these bulbs on table lamps/bed lamps is risky, because they can fall”) Always Dispose of Your CFL Properly

While CFLs for your home are not legally considered hazardous waste according to federal solid waste rules, it is still best for the environment to dispose of your CFL properly upon burnout. Only large commercial users of  tubular fluorescent lamps are required to recycle. If recycling is not an option in your area (see below on how to find out), place the CFL in a sealed plastic bag and dispose the same way you would batteries, oil-based paint and motor oil at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Site. If your local HHW Collection Site cannot accept CFLs (check Earth911.org to find out), seal the CFL in a plastic bag and place with your regular trash.

Safe cleanup precautions: If a CFL breaks in your home, open nearby windows to disperse any vapor that may escape, carefully sweep up the fragments (do not use your hands) and wipe the area with a disposable paper towel to remove all glass fragments. Do not use a vacuum. Place all fragments in a sealed plastic bag and follow disposalinstructions above.

What are the Health Risks of Mercury and How do CFLs Fit In? Mercury is an essential ingredient for most energy efficient lamps. The amount of mercury in a CFL’s glass tubing is small, about 4mg. However, every product containing mercury should be handled with care. Exposure to mercury, a toxic metal, can affect our brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver, causing symptoms such as trembling hands, memory loss, and difficulty moving. As energy -efficient lighting becomes more popular, it is important that we dispose of the products safely and responsibly. Mercury is released into our  environment when products with mercury are broken, disposed of improperly, or incinerated. If you break a CFL, clean it up safely. And always dispose of it properly to keep CFLs working  for  the environment. Mercury Emissions by Light Source Over 5-Year Life

10.0 4.0 2.4 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Milligrams of Mercury

Emissions from coal power plant Mercury used in CFL CFL Incandescent

Emissions from coal pwer plant Source: US EPA, June 2002

Household Mercury Amounts Mercury Thermometer500mg Older Thermostat 3000mg CFL 4mg Mercury is an ingredient in several  household products. Recycling   programs exist for mercury in older  non-digital thermostats and mercury  thermometers, but residential CFL recycling programs are just now  appearing.

FACT SHEET: Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) Resources for Recycling or Proper Disposal of CFLs NOTE: Residential recycling programs are not yet available in most regions. 1. Earth911.org (or call 1-800-CLEAN-UP for an automated hotline): Online, enter your zip code, press

“GO,” click “Household Hazardous Waste”, then “fluorescent light bulb disposal.” The site will identify your  nearest residential mercury recycling facility or mail disposal method. If you find no specific information on CFL disposal, go back and click on the link for “Mercury Containing Items.” 2. Call your local government if the Web site and Hotline number above does not have your local information. Look on the Internet or in the phone book for your local or municipal government entity responsible for  waste collection or household hazardous waste.

CFLs Responsible for Less Mercury than Incandescent Light Bulbs Ironically, CFLs present an opportunity to prevent mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health. The highest source of mercury in our air comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most common fuel used in the U.S. to produce electricity. A CFL uses 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer. A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only

2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has prepared this fact sheet to respond to questions/concerns about mercury in energy-efficient lighting that uses compact fluorescent technology. Always Dispose of Your CFL Properly While CFLs for your home are not legally considered hazardous waste according to federal solid waste rules, it is still best for the environment to dispose of your CFL properly upon burnout. Only large commercial users of  tubular fluorescent lamps are required to recycle. If recycling is not an option in your area (see below on how to find out), place the CFL in a sealed plastic bag and dispose the same way you would batteries, oil-based paint and motor oil at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Site. If your local HHW Collection Site cannot accept CFLs (check Earth911.org to find out), seal the CFL in a plastic bag and place with your regular trash. Safe cleanup precautions: If a CFL breaks in your home, open nearby windows to disperse any vapor that may escape, carefully sweep up the fragments (do not use your hands) and wipe the area with a disposable paper towel to remove all glass fragments. Do not use a vacuum. Place all fragments in a sealed plastic bag and follow disposal instructions above.

What are the Health Risks of Mercury and How do CFLs Fit In? Mercury is an essential ingredient for most energy efficient lamps. The amount of mercury in a CFL’s glass tubing is small, about 4mg. However, every product containing mercury should be handled with care. Exposure to mercury, a toxic metal, can affect our brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver, causing symptoms such as trembling hands, memory loss, and difficulty moving.  As energy -efficient lighting becomes more popular, it is important that we dispose of the products safely and responsibly. Mercury is released into our  environment when products with mercury are broken, disposed of improperly, or incinerated. If you break a CFL, clean it up safely. And always dispose of it properly to keep CFLs working for the environment. Mercury Emissions by Light Source Over 5-Year Life

10.0 4.0 2.4

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Milligrams of Mercury

Emissions from coal power plant Mercury used in CFL CFL Incandescent

Emissions from coal pwer plant Source: US EPA, June 2002

Household Mercury Amounts Mercury Thermometer  500mg Older Thermostat 3000mg CFL 4mg Mercury is an ingredient in several  household products. Recycling   programs exist for mercury in older  non-digital thermostats and mercury  thermometers, but residential CFL recycling programs are just now  appearing.

FACT SHEET: Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) Resources for Recycling or Proper Disposal of CFLs NOTE: Residential recycling programs are not yet available in most regions. 1. Earth911.org (or call 1-800-CLEAN-UP for an automated hotline): Online, enter your zip code, press

“GO,” click “Household Hazardous Waste”, then “fluorescent light bulb disposal.” The site will identify your  nearest residential mercury recycling facility or mail disposal method. If you find no specific information on CFL disposal, go back and click on the link for “Mercury Containing Items.” 2. Call your local government if the Web site and Hotline number above does not have your local information. Look on the Internet or in the phone book for your local or municipal government entity responsible for  waste collection or household hazardous waste.

CFLs Responsible for Less Mercury than

Incandescent Light Bulbs Ironically, CFLs present an opportunity to prevent mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health. The highest source of mercury in our air comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most common fuel used in the U.S. to produce electricity. A CFL uses 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer. A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has prepared this fact sheet to respond to questions/ concerns about mercury in energy-efficient lighting that uses compact fluorescent technology.

Frequently Asked Questions Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury February 2008 Why should people use CFLs?

Switching from traditional light bulbs to CFLs is an effective, accessible change every American can make right now to reduce energy use at home and prevent greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. Lighting accounts for close to 20 percent of the average home’s electric bill. ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs, last up to 10 times longer, cost little up front, and provide a quick return on investment. If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, in one year it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 800,000 cars. Do CFLs contain mercury?

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 5 milligrams – about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, older  thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. It would take 100 CFLs to equal that amount. Mercury currently is an essential component of CFLs and is what allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. Many manufacturers have taken significant steps to reduce mercury used in their fluorescent lighting products. In fact, the average amount of mercury in a CFL is anticipated to drop by the end of 2007 thanks tot echnology advances and a commitment from members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. What precautions should I take when using CFLs in my home?

CFLs are made of glass and can break if dropped or roughly handled. Be careful when removing the bulb from its packaging, installing it, or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the lamp by its base (not the glass), and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket. If a CFL breaks in your  home, follow the clean-up recommendations below. Used CFLs should be disposed of properly

(see below). What should I do with a CFL when it burns out?

EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for compact fluorescent light bulbs. EPA is working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Consumers can contact their local municipal solid waste agency directly, or go to www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling or www.earth911.org to identify local recycling options. If your state permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, seal the bulb in two plastic bags and put it into the outside trash, or other protected outside location, for the next normal trash collection. CFLs should not be disposed of in an incinerator. ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs have a warranty. If the bulb has failed within the warranty period, look at the CFL base to find the manufacturer’s name. Visit the manufacturer’s web site to find the customer service contact information to inquire about a refund or replacement. How should I clean up a broken fluorescent bulb?

EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines: Before Clean-up: Vent the Room

1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. 2. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces

3. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. 4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. 5. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag. 6. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug:

3. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. 4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. 5. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken. 6. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag. Disposal of Clean-up Materials

7. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or  outdoor protected area for the next normal trash. 8. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials. 9. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a local recycling center. Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Vent the Room During and After Vacuuming

10. For at least the next few times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning

system and open a window prior to vacuuming. 11. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed. What is mercury?

Mercury is an element (Hg on the periodic table) found naturally in the environment. Mercury emissions in the air can come from both natural and man-made sources. Coal-fired power plants are the largest man-made source because mercury that naturally exists in coal is released into the air when coal is burned to make electricity. Coal-fired power generation accounts for roughly 40 percent of the mercury emissions in the U.S. EPA is implementing policies to reduce airborne mercury emissions. Under regulations EPA issued in 2005, mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants will drop by nearly 70 percent by 2018. The use of CFLs reduces power demand, which helps reduce mercury emissions from power  plants. For more information on all sources of mercury, visit http://www.epa.gov/mercury For more information about compact fluorescent bulbs, visit http://www.energystar.gov/cfls EPA is continually reviewing its clean-up and disposal recommendations for CFLs to ensure that the Agency presents the most up-to-date information for consumers and businesses.

Fluorescent Light Bulb Information New! Maine Compact Fluorescent Lamp Breakage Study Report New! Report Regarding the Recycling of Fluorescent Lamps and Consumer Education Efforts - (209KB - pdf format) - Maine DEP and Maine Public Utilities Commission Maine law does not allow fluorescent bulbs, including CFLs, to be disposed of in the trash because they contain a small amount of mercury. You can recycle them at participating retail stores (MS Excel) (pdf format) at no charge or where your municipality has made lamp recycling arrangements (MS Excel) (pdf format) . There may be a small charge for recycling the bulb at a municipal recycling facility. I've broken a fluorescent bulb in my home. What do I do ? has launched a Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) Recycling Program. The decal at left will be in the windows of the participating retail stores (MS Excel) (pdf format)across the State of Maine. These stores are being trained in accordance with Maine DEP requirements. The used, unbroken CFLs will be collected and recycled, with as many of  the CFL components as possible recovered for reuse. Energy Savings According to the US Department of Energy, if we all switched our five most-highly used light bulbs to compact fluorescents, we would save enough electricity to shut down 21 power plants—about 800 billion kilowatt-hours. That means a lot less carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides going into the air and causing problems like climate change, acid rain, ozone and contaminated fish. Not to mention the money we’d save on

our monthly electric bills. Try Efficiency Maine's savings calculator to see how much you might save. And find more information about the ENERGY STAR® Residential Lighting Program. Proper recycling of fluorescent bulbs Don't trash fluorescent light bulbs. Fluorescent light bulbs do contain a small amount of  mercury and cannot be disposed of in the trash. Take them to a Universal Waste Collection Center. Call 1-800-452-1942 for more information. To determine where your municipality has made arrangements for recycling of this type of waste, call your municipal office or check the Maine Department of Environmental Protection website for a list of municipal collection sites (MS Excel format) (pdf format) - The green blocks signify that we have gathered the information from those towns. White means we were not able to reach anyone in that municipal office. Blue means the facility will take from anyone in the state not just the residents in their town. If anyone finds any errors or changes, please contact the Hazardous Waste Program staff at 207-287-2651. More information History and facts on CFL breakage in Prospect, Maine (MS Word format) (pdf format) Updated February 25, 2008

CFL/LED LAMPS HIDE CORRECT SHADES

the reason why one lighting technology is more pleasing to the eye than another is the smoothness of the intensity of light it emits over the visible spectrum. Incandescent bulbs have a very smooth spectrum curve, with the very best of them (hightemperature halogen) emitting a spectrum that closely resembles that of the sun. The two technologies that offer the best hope for energy saving (compact fluorescent and white LED) have emission spectrums that are very “peaky”. For example, a white LED typically emits 90% or more of its light in either two or three very narrow bandwidths. If an object that is illuminated by such a lamp happens to be colored such that it doesn't match the colors emitted by the lamp, then it will appear to be a different color than it would have in sunlight (or incandescent light). If you've ever seen the peculiar way things look under low-pressure sodium street lamps (the yellow ones), then you've seen an

extreme example of this. CFLs and LEDs aren't quite that bad, but to anyone who appreciates colors they can be very annoying. Perhaps even worse is a different phenomenon, often called  “harshness”. This has to do with the opposite situation: when an object illuminated by CFL or LED light happens to be a color that matches the peak emission. Such an object has a peculiarly high intensity, almost as though it were glowing on its own. In reality, the object is reflecting more light than it would under sunlight of  the same average brightness – another effect of the “peaky”  emission spectrum – and our perceptual system interprets this as that almost-self-glowing effect. Manufacturers of CFLs and LEDs are working to improve this discontinuous spectrum problem. In the case of CFLs, that means better phosphors and compromises on efficiency. There are multiple technologies being used and developed for LEDs, and I think in the long term the best LEDs are likely to be superior to the best CFLs (this is not true today, however). Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl) CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

Nonelectric Flourescent Lamps being encouraged by World Bank in Africa WASHINGTON: Lacking electricity, Africans spend an estimated $17 billion (€12.5 billion) a year on

lighting sources such as kerosene lamps that are inefficient, polluting and hazardous. The World Bank intends to change these conditions with a program launched Wednesday to provide lighting for the 250 million people in sub-Saharan African who have no access to power. Working with its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, the bank intends to develop market conditions for the supply and distribution of non-fossil fuel lighting products. These products can include fluorescent light bulbs and light-emitting diodes for use in rural and urban areas not connected to an electricity grid. Power would come from the sun, the wind and mechanical devices such as pedals.

Situation in Hyderabad (From Deccan Chronicle 19 th March 2008)

Rapid industrialisation and urban development in and around Hyderabad have taken heavy toll as soils in the neighbouring Ranga Reddy district is getting contaminated with heavy metals. This is the first time that heavy metals have been found in considerable quantities in parts of Ranga Reddy district. A study by the city-based National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) revealed that these soils are polluted by heavy metals, which are dangerous for the health of human beings and animals. Besides industrial growth, extensive use of agrochemicals in the last several decades has led to the accumulation of these metals in the surface soils, between 5 cm and 15 cm. "These metals can infiltrate through the soil caus ing ground water pollution," the study conducted by D. Sujatha pointed out. The density of heavy metals is at least five times that of water and cannot be metabolised in the body. They continue accumulating in the body leading to major health hazards. They affect the brain, kidneys and lungs.  As part of the study, sur face soil samples were obtained from the southeastern part of Ranga Reddy and analysed for traces of 14 heavy metals like arsenic, barium, cobalt, chromium, copper, molybdenum, nickel, lead, rubidium, strontium, vanadium, zinc and zirconium. The contamination of the soils was assessed on the basis of enrichment factor (ratio of metal), geoaccumulation index, contamination factor and degree of contamination. The results reveal that variations in heavy element concentrations in the soil analysed, have both geogenic (natural) and anthropogenic (human) contribution, due to long period of constant human activities in the study area. "The concentration of the metals like barium, rubidi um, strontium, vanadium and zirconium are interpreted to be mainly inherited from parent materials (rocks). Arsenic, cobalt, copper, chromium, molybdenum, nickel, lead and zinc concentrations show contribution from geogenic and anthropogenic sources. The major element variations in soils are determined by the composition of the parent material predominantly involving granites," the NGRI study said

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Claim: When broken, energy-saving light bulbs (CFLs) loose dangerous amounts of mercury into a home.

Status: Multiple: l CFLs contain mercury, a dangerous substance:  True. l While mercury stays safely contained in intact CFLs, it escapes from broken CFLs into the immediate

surroundings: True. l The amount of mercury contained in one CFL bulb poses a grave danger to a home's inhabitants: False. l But folks do need to handle the breakage of a CFL bulb with a great deal of care and follow certain

procedures in removing the broken bulb and its contents from the home:  True. l An environmental clean-up crew needs be called in to deal with the mercury dispersed by one broken CFL bulb:  False. Example: [Farah, 2007]  Origins: Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), whose use is estimated to result in a $47 savings in energy

costs over the life of each bulb versus incandescents, have had their critics. They take longer to switch on. Regular CFLs won't work with dimmer switches. They can interfere with radios, cordless phones, and remote controls. They also contain mercury, a fact that causes no small amount of concern in light of how dangerous that substance is. Yet the amount housed in each bulb is very small, about 5 milligrams, which is about the size of the period at the end of a sentence. And, provided the bulbs aren't broken open, none of that leaches into the home. Like batteries, used CFLs need to be disposed at a toxic waste depot rather than tossed out with the ordinary household trash. Because mercury is cumulative, this poisonous element would add up if all the spent bulbs went into a landfill. Instead, the mercury in dead bulbs is reclaimed at such depots and recycled. As to the potential for harm posed by mercury escaping from broken bulbs, says the King County Hazardous Waste Program: "Crushing and breaking fluorescent lamps release mercury vapor and mercurycontaining phosphor powder. These can be difficult to contain." Yet the recommended clean-up process does not WASHINGTON — Brandy Bridges heard the claims of government officials, environmentalists and retailers like Wal-Mart all pushing the idea of replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving and moneysaving compact fluorescent lamps. So, last month, the Prospect, Maine, resident went out and bought two dozen CFLs and began installing them in her home. One broke. A month later, her daughter's bedroom remains sealed off  with plastic like the site of a hazardous materials accident, while Bridges works on a way to pay off a $2,000 estimate by a company specializing in environmentally sound cleanups of the mercury inside the bulb. [Click here for the rest of the article.]

http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp involve calling in a HazMat team. Says the EPA in its advisory about dealing with broken CFLs: Before Clean-up: Ventilate the Room 1. Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out. 2. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. 3. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces 4. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. 5. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. 6. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass  jar or plastic bag. 7. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug 8. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning  jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. 9. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. 10. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken. 11. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag. Disposal of Clean-up Materials 12. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash. 13. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials. 14. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken mercurycontaining bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Ventilate the Room During and After Vacuuming 15. The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming. 16. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed. Maine's Department of Environmental Protection concurs, even though it affixes additional steps and cautions to the process: What if I accidentally break a fluorescent bulb in my home? The most important thing to remember is to never use a vacuum. A standard vacuum will spread mercury containing dust throughout the area as well as contaminating the vacuum. What you should do is: l Ventilate the area. l If possible, reduce the temperature. l Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses, coveralls or old clothing, and a dust mask to keep bulb dust and glass from being inhaled. l Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container. l Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust. There are several ways to do this. You can use a disposable broom and dustpan, two stiff pieces of paper or one of the many commercial mercury spill kits available. l Put all material into an airtight plastic bag. Pat the area with the sticky side of duct, packing or masking tape. Wipe the area with a damp cloth. l Put all waste and materials used to clean up the bulb in a secure closed container and label it "Universal Waste - broken lamp". l Take the container for recycling as universal wastes. To determine where your town has made arrangements for recycling of this type of waste, call your town office or check out the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/hazardouswaste/uwmuniciplemaster.xls Remember, the next time you replace a bulb, be sure to put a drop cloth on the floor so that any accidental breakage can be easily cleaned up.

The advice proffered by Maine's DEP is interesting, in light of the story about the unfortunate householder whose broken bulb supposedly cost her more than $2,000 in clean-up fees. Brandy Bridges lives in Prospect, Maine, and it was Maine's DEP that sent an expert to her home to test for mercury contamination, then recommended she have a local environmental cleanup firm tackle the problem. The account detailing her experience began reaching us in April 2007 in the form of the World Net Daily  article quoted above. It has subsequently been repeated in an article published both by Fox News and the Financial Post. All of these published accounts drew their information from a 12 April 2007 article in the Ellsworth American , a newspaper published in Ellsworth, Maine. According to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald , what actually happened after Ms. Bridges dropped a CFL bulb on the floor of her home is as f ollows: Bridges knew when the bulb shattered that the mercury inside had spilled onto the carpet and needed to be cleaned up carefully. She resisted the urge to vacuum, made some calls and got in touch with the state Department of Environmental Protection. So far, so good. The DEP, which didn't have a lot of experience with shattered compact fluorescent bulbs, told Bridges one option was to call a hazardous materials cleanup contractor, something officials now agree was serious overkill. She made the call and almost hit the floor herself. The contractor said the cleanup could cost $2,000, Bridges said. Because she didn't have two grand to hand over, Bridges sealed up the bedroom with plastic and tape. She also talked to a local newspaper to warn people to think twice about buying the bulbs. DEP officials, meanwhile, tried to assure her there really was no need to spend any money or seal up the room. But she wasn't about to trust the same government that had urged her to buy the bulb and, in her view, was changing its story about how dangerous it was to her daughter. The DEP eventually did help her clean it up. They [later] removed part of the carpet, though officials say that was only necessary because the mercury sat for two months. Whatever occurred in the Bridges home (the Maine DEP has since posted its account of the incident), Maine's DEP is not now recommending householders need bring in an environmental clean-up crews to deal

with broken CFL bulbs, even if it is advocating the use of sticky tape, disposable dustpans, and sealed plastic bags. CFLs need to be handled with far more consideration than do conventional incandescent bulbs, if only because cleaning up a broken energy-saving bulb is a more involved process. Consumers should therefore exercise caution regarding where and how they install CFLs in their homes; they should be careful to not break these bulbs as they install and remove them and avoid putting them in lamps likely to be sent crashing to the floor by someone knocking them from a side table or tripping over electrical cords. CFLs save consumers money in the long run, as these bulbs draw far less power (resulting in lower electric bills), and they last longer (so they don't need to be replaced nearly as often). But they also work to save the environment by lessening greenhouse gases. If every American home replaced just one standard incandescent light bulb with a long-lasting CFL, the resultant energy savings would eliminate greenhouse gases equal to the emissions of 800,000 cars, according to the U.S. Energy Star program. Australia has committed to a mandatory phase-out of incandescents by 2010. Ontario has moved to ban conventional incandescent bulbs and other inefficient lighting technologies by 2012. (While homeowners and businesses in that province won't be penalized for continuing to use the older bulbs, it will become illegal for retailers to sell them.) Barbara "the tunnel at the end of the light" Mikkelson Additional information: Last updated: 3 March 2008

The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2008 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson This material may not be reproduced without permission.

Fact Sheet: Mercury in CFLs (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) CFL Disposal FAQ  (www.energystar.gov) Sources:

Carpenter, Mackenzie. "Flicker of Change." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 4 April 2007 (p. C1). Farah, Joseph. "Consumers in Dark Over Risks of New Light Bulbs." WorldNetDaily.com. 16 April 2007. Gosling, Nick. "Fluorescent Bulb Break Creates Costly H assle." The Ellsworth American. 12 April 2007. Hamilton, Tyler. "Future Is Dim for Light Bulb."

The Toronto Star. 19 April 2007 (p. A1).

Richardson, John. "Broken Bulb Saga Keeps Going." Portland Press Herald. 16 June 2007. Spears, Tom. "How to Dispose of Fluorescent Lightbulbs." Ottawa Citizen. 22 April 2007 (p. A2). Watson, Tom. "Now You're Out of Excuses — Time to Switch to CFL Bulbs." The Seattle Times. 3 March 2007 (p. I4). Wolinsky, Howard. "A Look at the Dark Side; Mercury Makes These Bulbs Work." Chicago Sun Times. 22 April 2007 (p. E2).

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