GE just closed the last U.S. factory making incandescent bulbs and 200 workers are out of jobs because GE is importing compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) made in China. Under George Bush’s 2007 energy bill, incandescent bulbs will be banned in 2014.
Our house is full of them and, like this woman, we refuse to switch until the last one dies.
The Daily Green tells you what to look for in a CFL:
“…Energy Star-certified models…. .two-year warranty… minimum rated lifespan of at least 6,000 hours and cannot emit an audible noise. They must turn on in less than one second and reach at least 80% of their output within three minutes. They can’t have more than five milligrams of mercury.”
Noise? They take THREE minutes to come on? MERCURY?
“All fluorescent bulbs contain a small, and decreasing, amount of mercury, which is toxic. They actually result in less mercury released into the environment than incandescents, since those use so much more energy, much of which is generated from coal (which releases mercury).”
Does this look like the lamest rationalization for topping all your lamps with deadly poison you’ve ever seen? Yeah, I agree.
If you break a CFL, open all the windows, don heavy gloves if you don’t own a full hazmat suit, and carefully scrape up the glass and mercury. DO NOT VACUUM; it spreads the lethal fumes. Then use duct tape to pick up any tiny bits. Put the bulb and anything that touched it in sealed double plastic bags or a lidded glass jar and take it to the nearest hazardous waste dump (which should be right around the corner if these bulbs catch on). It may be illegal in your state — it’s already immoral in all 50 states — to throw it out with the trash.
Next time you vacuum that area, throw out the vacuum cleaner bag. In the meantime, you and your pets can walk on whatever’s there and that’s OK.
I want to know why our government is pushing CFLs while DOING NOTHING to facilitate disposal.
The mercury in one CFL can cause kidney and brain damage and poison 1,000-6,000 gallons of water.
CFLs create light with UV rays (you know, the same stuff you wear 30 SPF sunblock to avoid). The UV light bounces off the white coating on the glass. Reviews are mixed on whether this is dangerous, but UV is UV. Decide for yourself whether you want it inside your home every waking moment.
If a CFL is too close to electronic devices, the infrared light it produces can disrupt them. So if the channel suddenly changes on your TV, it could be the lamp.
A CFL hates being turned on and off a lot, dims over time, can’t be used in a fully enclosed fixture unless it’s outside, and craps out in extreme heat or cold. When it dies, it can smoke, sizzle, pop, and even start a fire.
So unless you coddle your CFLs like rare hothouse orchids, the chances of one lasting as long as the hype on the package and putting out decent light seem slim to none.
Thank you, U.S. government, for embracing CFLs, knowing full well that the fools who always dismiss facts — the Palin, Beck, and LimpPaw followers — will carelessly discard CFLs until they’ve poisoned every drop of potable water in the country — and then blame you.
The real tragedy is that there IS a safer, energy-efficient bulb: the LED. But it’s prohibitively expensive.
So why don’t we create jobs and protect the environment by investing in this technology? Companies could get incentives for making LEDs more affordable, and Congress could keep its damn light bulb legislation until people have a SAFE alternative.
In the meantime, we’re stocking up on incandescents while we still can and dare the Bulb Police to catch us.
PS: GE tells all you need to know about CFLs, but beware of the rosy corporate spin between the lines.