Sunday, August 24, 2008

CFL Lightbulb Facts

I am attaching this link, because, I am finding that a large percentage of African Americans have misconceptions about the dangers of CFL lightbulbs. The primary concern is that one will die or suffer from some sort of illness as a result of mercury exposure if one is dropped. Reports of the dangers of CFL's have been greatly exaggerated. One CFL light bulb contains 4 milligrams of mercury compared to 500 milligrams of mercury typically found in your average household thermometer. Many of the newer CFL's have even less mercury, 1-2 milligrams. After conveying this information to some folks, they admitted routinely playing with the silvery mercury filling from one of those thermometers when they were kids, with no ill effects as adults that they are aware of. Certainly, one needs to take precautions when handling a broken CFL light bulb, much in the same way one safely handles other potentially toxic household products such as bleach, ammonia, antifreeze, pesticides, engine oil and similar materials. In the same way that we dispose of many these types of chemicals with caution, to avoid contaminating our landfills and ground water, we are asked to dispose of CFL's with caution, as the mercury can add up quickly if millions are disposed of with normal trash. The good news is that many retailers, including Home Depot and municipalities are offering to accept your broken light bulbs, so they won't be as much of a hassle to dispose of. Though they are more expensive per bulb, each bulbs lasts up to eight years and uses about 75% less energy than an incandescent light. Who among us is not looking to save money on rising electricity bills while saving our planet as well?

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