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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Truth about CFLs

I received an email recently attacking "liberals" (not sure why they were singled out) for thinking we need CFLs and questioning their safety, so I did a little checking.

1.) Invent a reason for a revolutionary light bulb when none is needed.
  • CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescents
  • Each CFL can save up to $30 in energy costs over its extended lifetime
  • If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR® qualified bulb, it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

Is there something wrong with saving money on our electric bills while burning less coal to produce that electricity?

2.) Invent a light bulb that requires a f***ing HAZMAT team to haul it away..
  • recycle them properly by wrapping them and dropping them off for safe disposal at a CFL collection site like Home Depot or Ikea, which also recycles batteries and other toxic household products.

I think we all have Home Depots or Ikeas within reasonable driving distances, and when was the last time any of us actually were clumsy enough to break a light bulb anyway? These bulbs last for years. When one does burn out, add it to your trip to recycle centers with glass, plastic jugs and bottles, newspapers, plastic grocery bags, metal and aluminum cans, and anything else that can be recycled.

3.) Invent a light bulb whose toxicity if broken in your home will f***ing kill you!!!!!!!!!!
  • According to the EPA, the amount of mercury contained in each bulb is an average of about four milligrams, which is roughly equivalent to an amount that would cover the tip of a ball-point pen. By way of comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. It would take approximately 125 CFLs to match that amount.
  • Given the amount of energy and fossil fuels incandescents burn over their short life span, they emit more mercury (and other toxic chemicals like sulphur and nitrogen oxide) into the atmosphere than energy-efficient CFLs.
  • Thanks to technology advances and a commitment from the members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the average amount of mercury in CFLs will continue to decrease as time passes.

It doesn't seem like 4 milligrams would be deadly even if you somehow could extract all of it and somehow get it inside your body.

Compare that with all the additional pollution pumped into the environment by coal fired power plants to generate all the additional electricity needed to burn so many more incandescents versus the average 7 to 12 year lifespan of a CFL, and clearly the more deadly approach is the status quo.


Just in case anyone cares about the facts. ;-)

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