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The CFL Light Bulb Scare MS Word

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The CFL Light bulb scare

Have you heard of the recent ordinance signed by President Bush regarding the gradual phasing out of incandescent bulbs, starting with the highest wattage bulbs initially, and extending the same to 40 watts bulbs by 2012? (On 19 December 2007, United States President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence Independenc e and Security Act of 2007)These bulbs will cease to exist by then and will have only nostalagical value after 2012, and children born after two or three generations later will learn about these bulbs only from history history books.

Not only in US, replacement of incandescent bulbs by CFL/LED bulbs for domestic and other lighting purposes is a worldwide phenomenoa, a number of countries having already already passed necessary legislation in this regard.

What is the reason for this, and why are we bidding good bye to the good old incandescent bulbs, hanging with a long wire from our roofs? They had their own charm, and used to come in various ornamental shades, and bore the hallmark of wealth and fame by hanging in rich people�s houses.

The main reason is that they emit light by burning themselves, and produce harmful carbondioxide, releasing the same into the atmosphere. They are therefore contributing to Global Warming, along with a number of of heat generating products like refrigerators, refrigerators, Airconditioners Airconditioners etc. In fact, our yearning for bodily comforts of any type, be it transport, lighting, travel etc contribute substantially substantially to Global Warming, and unless we do something about in the matter, we are heading for unknown frontiers.

It is in this context, as an alternatives to our old incadenscent bulbs, bulbs, the CFL bulb technology technology has come. The CFL bulbs have become extremely extremely popular and acceptable since 1980s. 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. People using CFLs are very satisfied with their bulbs and the energy savings and want to get more of them for their needs. But there is a small rider here. The CFL bulbs contain approximately four mgms of mercury, a dangerous toxic substance, and may sometimes escape as a vapour, causing untold harm by its penetration into the groundwaterThe 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 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. But is this argument correct? Using CFLs actually helps to REDUCE the amount of mercury mercury in the environment. Most 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 fluorescent light bulbs and therefore using less electricity,we 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 of that country.

Further, even if the CFL breaks and the 4 milligrams 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.

Ultimately, Ultimately, is it true,when broken, energy-saving light bulbs (CFLs) loose dangerous amounts of mercury into a home.? : 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.

What , if any, are the problems with these CFL Lamps?

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 mercury-containing mercury-containing phosphor powder. These can be difficult to contain."

Case of, Mrs Brandy Bridges,Prospect, Bridges,Prospect, Maine Washington Motivated by lot of publicity,Mrs publicity,M rs Brandy Bridges, a resident of Prospect, Maine, Washington, Washington , went out and bought two dozen CFLs and began installing them in her home. One broke. A month later, her daughter's bedroom remains remains sealed off with plastic like the site of o f a hazardous materials accident, 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.

Is this expenditure justified? justified? Perhaps no, if you can follow all the necessary precautiuons, mentioned mentioned below: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 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 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 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 mercury-containing 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, v acuum, 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

In addition, Maine's Department of Environmental Protection has offerd the following further steps:-

If you 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) 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.

What actually happened at Mrs Bridge�s residence? 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, 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.

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

Legal position in regard to Mefcury in CFL lamps:-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. However, Washinton �s Maine provincial law does not allow fluorescent bulbs, including CFLs, to be disposed of in the trash because they contain a small amount of mercury

WHAT ABOUT OTHER HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS CONTAINING MERCURY? Household Mercury Amounts Mercury Thermometer500mg Older Thermostat 3000mg CFL 4mg Mercury is an ingredient in severalhousehold products. Recycling programs exist for mercury in oldernon-digital thermostats and mercury thermometers, but residential CFL recycling programs are just now appearing. More interesting factsheets:-Ironically, CFLs present an opportunity to prevent mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health. Thehighest source of mercury in our air comes from burningfossil 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 producethe electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time

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 Manufacturers and retailers are starting to see the future in LED items as well, as they realize that a lot of people are looking to save energy. People want to support being "greener," sure, but they also want to keep a few more dollars and cents in their bank accounts.

l 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.

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

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. 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.

CFL Lights and shades

There is an argument that CFL/LED lamps do not properly reflect shades.While one lighting technology is more pleasing to the eye than another in 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 (high-temperature 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

CONTAMINATION OF SOIL DUE TO ACCUMULASTION OF HEAVY METALS :CASE STUDYI(Hyderabad India) by NGRI

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. Although there is no specific mention of mercury in the above study, improper disposal of CFL bulbs is going to definitely worsen the situation

But look at thjis Cool, efficient and environmentally correct, compact fluorescent light bulbs are selling by the hundreds of millions.But even as they�re cutting utility bills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the bulbs are also creating a new environmental headache.Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, contain a small amount of mercury, a potent human toxin that is federally regulated as hazardous waste. As used bulbs are thrown away, tons of mercury could eventually find its way into the environment The recycling programs can be scarce and inconvenient for consumers

National retailers, which sold most of the 300 million CFLs purchased last year, generally do not take them back for recycling. �We think they should, and we�re working on them,� said Paul Abernathy, executive director of the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers, which represents the 20 largest commercial mercury recyclers in the nation

Compact fluorescents contain an average 5 milligrams of mercury - a speck that would barely cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. A mercury fever thermometer, by comparison, holds 100 times that much. . But breaking a single bulb can be a health concern if the mercury is inhaled. A study by Maine�s Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management found that, after breaking a single CFL bulb, mercury concentrations in a room often exceeded state clean air guidelines, and briefly soared to more than 166 times the limit of 300 nanogram per cubic meter. Vacuuming only stirs up what remains, and the vacuum itself can be permanently contaminated. briefly soared to more than 166 times the limit of 300 nanogram per cubic meter. Vacuuming only stirs up what remains, and the vacuum itself can be permanently contaminated CFL manufacturers are in a �race to the bottom � to reduce the mercury content even more, Kohorst said. Wal-Mart�s Raddohl said her company�s suppliers have reduced the mercury in their CFLs to as little as 2.5 milligrams - half the industry standard. But it adds up. The recycling industry estimates that more than 300 million compact fluorescents were sold in the United States last year - more than 100 million by Wal-Mart alone. As few as 2 percent are being recycled. That compares with about 25 percent of the 700 million mercury vapor lamps sold to business and industry.

The rest end up in the trash.

Are LEDS a solution? The best way to address the issue, �is to speed up the next generation of energy-efficient light bulbs that won�t have mercury in them. � Those include light-emitting diode (LED) lamps - still very costly and several years from household use.

For a given light output, CFLs use between one fifth and one quarter of the power of an equivalent incandescent lamp. For example, lighting accounted for approximately 9% of household electricity usage in the United States in 2001, so widespread use of CFLs could save most of this, for a total energy saving of about 7% from household usage. Broken fluorescent lamps inside a house or an office do pose an environmental hazard beyond that of broken glass, especially to infants, young children, and expectant mothers. Like other fluorescent lamps, broken CFLs release mercury vapors, and require special handling to clean up. The EPA warns against vacuuming, suggesting instead that individuals vacate the room and open windows for fifteen minutes to allow any mercury vapor to air out, then clean up the breakage while wearing protective gloves, and use double plastic bags for all broken pieces. They also suggest using duct tape to pick up small pieces. Special handling upon breakage is currently not printed on the packaging of household CFL bulbs in many countries. It is important to note that the amount of mercury released by one bulb exceeds even the most lenient state level for acute exposure. [ �] Broken CFLs are an immediate health hazard due to the evaporation of mercury into the atmosphere. My comment 1.

1Bhujangadev Tumuluri

Your comment is awaiting moderation. Th precautions proposed are no doubt exhaustive, and wearisome, but then they cover all possibilities so that nothing is left to chance. What we should do is to spread the message of the risks involved in a breakage of CFL bulb, since according to one estimate I read,the present recycling rates are dismally low because of the more than 300 million compact fluorescents sold in the United States last year, only- As few as 2 percent are being recycled. The rest are being dumped somewhere,broken or not. [email protected] Subject:Re: Comment on Blog From: [email protected]cee.org Add Mobile Alert

Date:

Tue, 18 Mar 2008 07:53:39 -0500

Bhujadadev:

Thank you for reading the Minnesota Energy Challenge blog and leaving a comment. Can you please refer me to the articles that you wrote about so I can be familiar with them? Thank you.

Sincerely,

Neely Crane-Smith Minnesota Energy Challenge Coordinator Center for Energy and Environment 212 3rd Ave N, Ste 560 Minneapolis, MN 55401 Phone: (612) 335-5852 Take the Minnesota Energy Challenge! www.mnenergychallenge.org

PHJILLIPINES PROSPECTS FOR CFL BULBS

Want to see how much money, electricy and carbon you can save? Check out this CFL savings calculator at <a href=�http://www.springlightcfl.com/consumer/energy_savings_calculator.aspx �?http://www.springl

ightcfl.com/consumer/energy_savings_calculator.aspx..

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury The following page covers the most commonly asked questions regarding mercury in compact fluorescent lighting.

What is mercury, what are the sources of mercury emissions, and what are the risks? What are risks associated with mercury? Why do CFLs contain mercury? How much mercury does one CFL bulb contain? Should I be concerned about using CFLs in my home? What steps are being taken to reduce the amount of mercury in CFLs? Since CFLs contain mercury, how can they still be good for the environment? How do I safely dispose of a CFL when it burns out? What should I do if I break a CFL? What is mercury, what are the sources of mercury emissions, and what are the risks? Mercury is an element found naturally in the environment. Mercury emissions in the air can come from both natural and man-made sources. Utility power plants (mainly coal-fired) are the primary man-made source, as 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% of the mercury emissions in the U.S.. The EPA is implementing policies to reduce airborne mercury emissions. Under regulations issued in 2005, coalfired power plants will need to reduce their emissions by 70 percent by 2018.

. top What are risks associated with mercury?

Airborne mercury poses a very low risk of exposure. However, when mercury emissions deposit into lakes and oceans, they can transform into a highly toxic form that builds up in fish. Fish consumption is the most common pathway for human exposure to mercury. Pregnant women and young children are most vulnerable to the effects of this type of mercury exposure. However, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that most people are not exposed to harmful levels of mercury through fish consumption. top Why do CFLs contain mercury? Mercury is an essential ingredient for most energy efficient lighting products, including CFLs. It is the mercury that excites phosphors in a CFL, causing them to glow and give light. When electric current passes through mercury vapor, the mercury emits ultraviolet energy. When this ultraviolet energy passes through the phosphor coating, it produces light very efficiently. Because mercury is consumed during lamp operation, a certain amount is necessary to produce light and achieve long lamp life. top How much mercury does one CFL bulb contain? The amount of mercury in the most popular and widely used SpringLight CFLs is minimal, ranging between 2.3 mg and 3.5 mg. That is lower than other CFLs on the market, which generally contain approximately 5 mg, roughly the equivalent of the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, older home thermometers contain 500 milligrams of mercury and many manual thermostats contain up to 3000 milligrams. It would take between 100 and 665 CFLs to equal those amounts. Mercury can be added to the CFL in two ways. Some manufacturers use liquid mercury, which is less expensive and more difficult to accurately dose. SpringLight uses amalgam, a small �pill� which is a solid state form of mercury and other elements. Amalgam is much easier and more accurate to dose. SpringLight is the only manufacturer using 100 percent amalgam in its CFL products. Should I be concerned about using CFLs in my home? CFLs are safe to use in your home. No mercury is released when the bulbs are in use and they pose no danger to you or your family when used properly. top What steps are being taken to reduce the amount of mercury in CFLs? The mercury used in all SpringLight CFLs is the lowest dosage possible to maintain proper lamp function; however, we are committed to reducing mercury content whenever possible and as part of that call to action have joined the NEMA voluntary commitment program. All participating manufacturers have

promised to cap the total mercury content of all CFLs under 25 watts at 5 mg. CFLs that use 25 � 40 watts are capped at 6 mg per unit. top Since CFLs contain mercury, how can they still be good for the environment? CFLs are responsible for less mercury than standard incandescent light bulbs, and actually work 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 up to 13 times longer.

70% of power plants are coal fired and thus burn fossil fuel to produce energy. These power plants will emit 10 mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4 mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time. Coal-fired power generation accounts for roughly 40% of the mercury emissions in the U.S. top How do I safely dispose of a CFL when it burns out? It is best to recycle your CFL. Recycling programs exist for mercury in older non-digital thermostats and mercury thermometers, but residential CFL recycling programs are just now appearing. To find a residential recycling program in your area, visit earth911.org or lamprecycle.org. You can also call 1-800CLEAN-UP.

If recycling is not an option in your area, 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, seal the CFL in a plastic bag and place with your regular trash. top What should I do if I break a CFL? If a CFL breaks- carefully sweep up all the fragments, wipe the area with a wet towel, and dispose of all fragments, including the used towel, in a sealed plastic bag. Follow all disposal instructions. If possible,

open windows to allow the room to ventilate. Do NOT use a vacuum. Place all fragments in a sealed plastic bag and follow disposal instructions. 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 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 riskreducing 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

The rest end up in the trash (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

top Energy Savings Calculator Incandescent Bulb 120 Watt Bulb =

32 Watt CFL

Equivalent CFL Savings

$105.6 x qty

100 Watt Bulb =

23 Watt CFL

$92.4 x qty

75 Watt Bulb =

19 Watt CFL

$67.2 x qty

60 Watt Bulb =

14 Watt CFL

$55.2 x qty

40 Watt Bulb =

9 Watt CFL

$37.2 x qty

15 Watt Bulb =

3 Watt CFL

$14.4 x qty

Codes for colors: Lightfrom CFLs does not look like light from other sources. The U.S. Department of Energy recognizes six color categories, indicated by a number on the base of the bulb that ends with a "K." The range is from 2,700K (the most yellow, or "warm white") to 6,500K (the most blue, or "daylight").

2. Efficiency standards: Products marked "Energy Star" have met efficiency guidelines set by the federal government.

3. Cost savings: A typical CFL costs much more to purchase than a typical incandescent but saves even more money over its lifetime because it uses less energy and lasts far longer. Online calculators can get very specific.

4. Mercury hazard: The risk from 5 mg in a broken bulb is negligible, but it still must be cleaned carefully. The Environmental Protection Agency guidelines include opening all the windows in the room for 15 minutes and scraping the debris into a sealable plastic bag or jar. The EPA has a 12 step process for cleanup if the light bulb breaks.

5. Disposal: Because of the mercury hazard, CFLs should be recycled (separately from household bottles and cans). Curbside pickup is rare, but some stores and various hazardous-waste programs accept them.

The next big technology: LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are less-developed for household use than CFLs but promise even greater savings eventually.

Source: The Daily Mail

I heard on the news that Congress has mandated or is about to place a ban on the sale of incandescent lights by the year 2012. They are favoring �energy-saving� compact fluorescent bulbs. These spiral like bulbs are now in stores. And if you are like me You have been shell-shocked by their huge per-bulb cost compared to cheap incandescent bulbs. Granted there are the potential dangers in incandescent bulbs themselves. You probably are not aware of it but we get exposed to heavy amounts of infrared light that �s generated by incandescent light bulbs. The levels of infrared light generated by standard incandescent bulbs is actually quite toxic. It �s not been proven but it is believed that the infrared light from these bulbs is a main cause of cataracts and can seriously weaken the immune system. Considering the �dangers� of regular light bulbs, I am not willing to surrender my personal freedom to choose the light bulb I want. I am very concerned whenever out government starts peeling away my freedoms for the good of the general public. I�m certain that these new CFL bulbs are any better from a health perspective than incandescent bulbs. I am against using these things from and environmental perspective. How can something that saves energy, lasts longer and supposedly saves us money be bad for the environment? These new CFL bulbs are poisonous. Yep! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA - not really the brightest government group but they got this one right) acknowledges that when these compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) break, they can spread mercury everywhere. And we all know the hazards of mercury, right? Mercury is extremely hazardous to the health of children and pregnant women. CFLs are SO hazardous that the EPA says that if these bulbs happen to break on your carpet, the safest way to clean it up may require cutting out pieces of the contaminated carpet to avoid exposure to toxins. Ok so you don�t know whats so bad about mercury, here �s a quick refresher: it �s a metal that is liquid at room temperature and it occurs naturally. Once mercury is in your system it accumulates (that means your body cannot get rid of it) and does irreparable damage to our nervous systems. This is what makes mercury especially dangerous to young children (born and unborn). It plays havoc with the central nervous system that is still developing. OK, so how often do light bulbs break around children and moms anyway? The just drop to the ground and break themselves, Right? The hazard is not just the mercury that �s left on the ground. It �s the mercury that becomes airborne. A recent study indicated that a great deal of mercury is vaporized when the CFL (or any florescent light for that matter) shatters. The amount of mercury vaporized exceeded the federal exposure guidelines by 100 times! And it lingers. It doesn �t just go away. You actually have to ventilate the room to remove it. The mercury vapor is so dangerous that children, pets, and pregnant women be kept away from the

place where these CFLs break. In fact they really need to be evacuated from the room while the room is properly ventilated. So I need to ask; is it really worth it to you and me, to bring this danger into our homes? Is it worth saving a few extra kilowatt hours every year? Congress does. So much so that they�ve banned the sale of incandescent bulbs everywhere in the U.S. beginning in 2012. Just imagine how many light bulbs there are in the U.S. Imagine just 1% of these millions of light shattering in the home and at work. Let �s pretend it�s 2012 and every one of those broken bulbs is a CFL. And think about the all of the mercury spilled from each bulb. Think a little harder and you might see where I �m going with this - we are going to need and army of people in Hazmat gear to keep up with all the mercury spills. Oh yeah I almost forgot. You can�t throw mercury away in the trash. It would seep into ground water from all the landfills. They will need to be disposed of �properly�. That leads us to more government regulation. These new and energy efficient CFLs are mercury time bombs that must be disposed of as hazardous material. Are you licensed to dispose of hazardous materials? Let me ask, are these CFLs starting to sound like a bad idea yet? Just like they always do, big government hasn�t thought this thing through. The upcoming ban on incandescent bulbs is an irrational act. It is political in nature. We are being forced by �maroons� (as Bugs Bunny would say) who�ve bought into the lie called �global warming� and have the Christ complex and screwed up desire to try and �save the planet.� Think about it, would a few million less kilowatt hours per year suddenly bring back the Garden of Eden here on earth. No! I don �t even want to go down the road of global warming. I �ve waffled back and forth before, but my feet are firmly planted that is is hogwash! So, congress in their infinite wisdom has decided that the energy hungry incandescent light bulbs will be banished in order to put deadly mercury filled time-bombs into every home and business in America. And they will have to put in place legislature to police the proper disposal of mercury filled CFLs. All because Hollywood has jumped on the green bandwagon and the politicians think it�ll garner a few more bucks in the campaign coffers. We have plenty of time between now and January 1, 2012 for the lights to go on for consumers that these CFLs are not the answer. Not sure what the answer is, but I know it �s not mercury filled CFLs! Me? I�m going out and stockpiling cheap-o light bulbs and candles ..maybe even a kerosene lamp or two. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, long touted by environmentalists as a more efficient and longer-lasting alternative to the incandescent bulbs that have lighted homes for more than a century, are running into

resistance from waste industry officials and some environmental scientists, who warn that the bulbs � poisonous innards pose a bigger threat to health and the environment than previously thought. Fluorescents � the squiggly, coiled bulbs that generate light by heating gases in a glass tube � are generally considered to use more than 50 percent less energy and to last several times longer than incandescent bulbs. When fluorescent bulbs first hit store shelves several years ago, consumers complained about the loud noise they made, their harsh light, their bluish color, their clunky shape and the long time it took for them to warm up. Since then, the bulbs � known as CFLs � have been revamped, and strict government guidelines have alleviated most of those problems. But while the bulbs are extremely energy-efficient, one problem hasn�t gone away: All CFLs contain mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause kidney and brain damage. The amount is tiny � about 5 milligrams, or barely enough to cover the tip of a pen � but that is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels, extrapolated from Stanford University research on mercury. Even the latest lamps promoted as �low-mercury � can contaminate more than 1,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels. There is no disputing that overall, fluorescent bulbs save energy and reduce pollution in general. An average incandescent bulb lasts about 800 to 1,500 hours; a spiral fluorescent bulb can last as long as 10,000 hours. In just more than a year � since the beginning of 2007 � 9 million fluorescent bulbs have been purchased in California, preventing the release of 1.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide compared with traditional bulbs, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. �Using them actually reduces overall emissions to the environment, even though they contain

minuscule amounts of mercury in themselves, � said Mark Kohorst, senior manager for environment, health and safety for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Public, agencies ill-informed of risks As long as the mercury is contained in the bulb, CFLs are perfectly safe. But eventually, any bulbs � even CFLs � break or burn out, and most consumers simply throw them out in the trash, said Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University and editor of the  journal Environmental Research. �This is an enormous amount of mercury that�s going to enter the waste stream at present with no

preparation for it,� she said.

Manufacturers and the EPA say broken CFLs should be handled carefully and recycled to limit dangerous vapors and the spread of mercury dust. But guidelines for how to do that can be difficult to find, as Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, discovered. �It was just a wiggly bulb that I reached up to change, � Bridges said. �When the bulb hit the floor, it

shattered.� When Bridges began calling around to local government agencies to find out what to do, �I was shocked to see how uninformed literally everyone I spoke to was,� she said. �Even our own poison control operator didn�t know what to tell me. � The state eventually referred her to a private cleanup firm, which quoted a $2,000 estimate to contain the mercury. After Bridges complained publicly about her predicament, state officials changed their recommendation: Simply throw it in the trash, they said. Break a bulb? Five steps for cleanup That was the wrong answer, according to the EPA. It offers a detailed, 11-step procedure you should follow: Air out the room for a quarter of an hour. Wear gloves. Double-bag the refuse. Use duct tape to lift the residue from a carpet. Don �t use a vacuum cleaner, as that will only spread the problem. The next time you vacuum the area, immediately dispose of the vacuum bag. In general, however, the EPA endorses the use of fluorescent bulbs, citing their energy savings. Silbergeld also does not discourage their use because of their energy savings, but she said the EPA could be sending mixed signals to confused consumers. �It�s kind of ironic that on the one hand, the agency is saying, �Don�t worry, it �s a very small

amount of mercury.� Then they have a whole page of [instructions] how to handle the situation if you break one,� she said. Limited options for safe recycling The disposal problem doesn�t end there. Ideally, broken bulbs and their remains should be recycled at a facility approved to handle fluorescent lamps, but such facilities are not common. California is one of only seven states � Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin are the others � that ban disposing of fluorescent bulbs as general waste. And yet, qualified recycling facilities are limited to about one per county. In other states, collection of CFLs is conducted only at certain times of the year � twice annually in the District of Columbia, for example, and only once a year in most of Georgia.

In fact, qualified places to recycle CFLs are so few that the largest recycler of of fluorescent bulbs in America is Ikea, the furniture chain. �I think there �s going to be hundreds of millions of [CFLs] in landfills all over the country,� said

Leonard Worth, head of Fluorecycle Inc. of Ingleside, Ill., a certified facility. Once in a landfill, bulbs are likely to shatter even if they �re packaged properly, said the Solid Waste Association of North America. From there, mercury can leach into soil and groundwater and its vapors can spread through the air, potentially exposing workers to toxic levels of the poison. Industry working on safer bulbs Kohorst, of the electrical manufacturers group, acknowledged that disposal was a complex problem. But he said fluorescent bulbs were so energy-efficient that it was worth the time and money needed to make them completely safe. �These are a great product, and they �re going to continue solving our energy problems, and gradually

we�re going to find a solution to their disposal, as well, � Kohorst said. In the meantime, manufacturers of incandescent bulbs are not going down without a fight. General Electric Corp., the world �s largest maker of traditional bulbs, said that by 2010, it hoped to have on the market a new high-efficiency incandescent bulb that will be four times as efficient as today�s 125-year-old technology. It said that such bulbs would closely rival fluorescent bulbs for efficiency, with no mercury. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and NBC Universal, which is a division of General Electric.) However, if the disposal problem is to be solved, speed would appear to be called for. Consumers bought more than 300 million CFLs last year, according to industry figures, but they may be simply trading one problem (low energy-efficiency) for another (hazardous materials by the millions of pounds going right into the earth). �One lamp, so what? Ten lamps, so what? A million lamps, well

The CFL Light bulb scare

Have you heard of the recent ordinance signed by President Bush regarding the gradual phasing out of incandescent bulbs, starting with the highest wattage bulbs initially, and extending the same to 40 watts bulbs by 2012? (On 19 December 2007, United States President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007)These bulbs will cease to exist by then and will have only nostalagical value after 2012, and children born after two or three generations later will learn about these bulbs only from history books.

Not only in US, replacement of incandescent bulbs by CFL/LED bulbs for domestic and other lighting purposes is a worldwide phenomenoa, a number of countries having already passed necessary legislation in this regard.

What is the reason for this, and why are we bidding good bye to the good old incandescent bulbs, hanging with a long wire from our roofs? They had their own charm, and used to come in various ornamental shades, and bore the hallmark of wealth and fame by hanging in rich people�s houses.

The main reason is that they emit light by burning themselves, and produce harmful carbondioxide, releasing the same into the atmosphere. They are therefore contributing to Global Warming, along with a number of of heat generating products like refrigerators, Airconditioners etc. In fact, our yearning for

bodily comforts of any type, be it transport, lighting, travel etc contribute substantially to Global Warming, and unless we do something about in the matter, we are heading for unknown frontiers.

It is in this context, as an alternatives to our old incadenscent bulbs, the CFL bulb technology has come. The CFL bulbs have become extremely popular and acceptable since 1980s. 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. People using CFLs are very satisfied with their bulbs and the energy savings and want to get more of them for their needs. But there is a small rider here. The CFL bulbs contain approximately four mgms of mercury, a dangerous toxic substance, and may sometimes escape as a vapour, causing untold harm by its penetration into the groundwaterThe 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 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. But is this argument correct? Using CFLs actually helps to REDUCE the amount of mercury in the environment. Most 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,we 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 of that country.

Further, 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.

Ultimately, is it true,when broken, energy-saving light bulbs (CFLs) loose dangerous amounts of mercury into a home.? : 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.

What , if any, are the problems with these CFL Lamps?

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 mercury-containing phosphor powder. These can be difficult to contain."

Case of, Mrs Brandy Bridges,Prospect, Maine Washington Motivated by lot of publicity,Mrs Brandy Bridges, a resident of Prospect, Maine, Washington, 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.

Is this expenditure justified? Perhaps

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