Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL): The Dangerous Truth
01 July 2007
vWhile large-scale marketing efforts tout cost savings of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), few are explaining the real cost -- to the environment and to individuals -- of broken or discarded CFLs.
One consumer has learned that accidentally breaking a CFL could cost her more than $2,000. According to the newspaper Ellsworth American, Brandy Bridges of Prospect, Maine, has been given a conservative quote of $2,000 for toxic cleanup of one CFL broken in her home.
Bridges broke the CFL as she was installing it in her daughter's bedroom. Because Bridges knew that CFLs contain hazardous materials, she called Home Depot for advice on how to clean up the broken bulb. The store directed her to a Poison Control hotline, which advised her to call the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The DEP sent a specialist to Bridges' home who found that the mercury from one broken CFL created mercury levels in the child's bedroom that were greater than six times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination. The specialist advised Bridges to engage an environmental cleanup firm; the firm gave her an estimate of $2,000 to clean up the broken CFL.
The child's bedroom has been sealed off while Bridges attempts to raise the money for cleanup. According to media reports, Bridges' homeowner's insurance refuses to cover the cleanup because mercury is a known hazardous material.
Celebrities, political candidates and retailers including Wal-Mart continue to promote CFLs as an economical and "green" alternative to other types of lighting. Even the EnergyStar division of the Environmental Protection Agency -- while admitting on its website that CFLs contain mercury -- stops short of calling a broken CFL "hazardous." Like most proponents of CFLs, EnergyStar fails to mention the long-term dangers to the environment and the short-term dangers to well-meaning consumers who accidentally break a compact fluorescent light bulb.
About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate with a mission to teach personal and planetary health to the public He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guies, and books on topics like health and the environment, impacting the lives of millions of readers around the world who are experiencing phenomenal health benefits from reading his articles. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a maker of super bright LED light bulbs that are 1000% more energy efficient than incandescent lights. He's also a noted technology pioneer and founded a software company in 1993 that developed the HTML email newsletter software currently powering the NewsTarget subscriptions. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. He's also author of numerous health books published by Truth Publishing and is the creator of several consumer-oriented grassroots campaigns, including the Spam. Don't Buy It! campaign, and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. He also created the free reference sites HerbReference.com and HealingFoodReference.com. Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the ending of corporate control over medicines, genes and seeds. Known as the 'Health Ranger,' Adams' personal health statistics and mission statements are located at www.HealthRanger.org