Congress, in its infinite wisdom, has banned Thomas Edison’s masterpiece. Stores have to stop selling incandescent light bulbs in 2014. But if you are one of the folks who have embraced the new, more expensive, energy-efficient cfl bulbs, you might want to reconsider.
The cfl light bulb, besides looking like a socket with a curly fry attached to it, is actually very deadly.
In short: Don’t sit near one, breath the air surrounding one—or worse yet, break one.
Yup, in the name of saving the environment, the feds are destroying the environment, and endangering people in the process. The Telegraph reports on the energy-saving light bulbs:
Fears have been reignited about the safety of energy-saving light bulbs after a group of scientists warned that they contain cancer-causing chemicals.
Scientists claim that several carcinogenic chemicals are released when energy-saving light bulbs are switched on.
Their report advises that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.
Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin’s Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”
Later on, the article goes on to warn readers not to use these bulbs in poorly ventilated areas.
But perhaps an even greater risk to people is the bulbs breaking—and as anyone with children knows, eventually one will probably get broken.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (epa) details what to do to avoid mercury poisoning in such a scenario. Here are some of the steps. You can read the full set of instructions at the website. If you are overwhelmed by the instructions, or the possible health risks, you might consider hiring a hazmat crew—or moving. According to the epa, if a bulb breaks:
Have people and pets leave the room, and avoid the breakage area on the way out.
Open a window or door to the outdoors and leave the room for 5-10 minutes.
Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.
Collect materials you will need to clean up the broken bulb: stiff paper or cardboard; sticky tape (e.g., duct tape); damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces); glass jar with a metal lid (such as a canning jar) or a sealable plastic bag(s).
The stiff paper and cardboard is to carefully pick up the broken glass without having to touch it. The sticky tape is to collect any fragments from the floor that you missed. You don’t want to sweep hard surfaces because it could stir up the poisonous particles.
The glass jar with a metal lid is needed because plastic does not stop mercury vapor. Put the glass fragments into the glass jar before disposing.
But don’t dispose in your trash. Mercury is a hazardous substance, and most states require you to take it to a certified recycling center.
The Maine epa, under the heading “What if I accidentally break a fluorescent lamp in my house?” warns:
Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the breakage. This will spread the mercury vapor and dust throughout the area and could potentially contaminate the vacuum. …
Ventilate the area by opening windows, and leave the area for 15 minutes before returning to begin the cleanup. Mercury vapor levels will be lower by then. …
For maximum protection and if you have them, wear rubber gloves. …
Continue ventilating the room for several hours.
Wash your hands and face.
Finally, the Maine epa includes a couple of other warnings not included on the federally-sponsored site:
When a break happens on carpeting, homeowners may consider removing throw rugs or the area of carpet where the breakage occurred as a precaution, particularly if the rug is in an area frequented by infants, small children or pregnant women.
Finally, if the carpet is not removed, open the window to the room during the next several times you vacuum the carpet to provide good ventilation.
Wow. What an example of bad government. Who in their right mind would mandate the usage of these types of light bulbs? In theory, a person might save money, but how many people can afford to throw out their carpet if a bulb breaks? Who wants to evacuate their children and pets from their home for 15 minutes while they are waiting for toxicity levels to drop? Who wants to have to ventilate their house for “several hours” in the middle of winter? Who wants to open up their windows every time they vacuum the contaminated area? What if you forget to turn off your air conditioning or heating unit and you suck up the mercury vapor into the vents?
And now scientists are warning that these “green” bulbs give off cancer-causing chemicals just by being turned on.
What about when you go to sell your house to an unsuspecting buyer? Do you need to disclose that you have had a potentially dangerous mercury spill?
If this green light bulb boondoggle isn’t bad enough, it is also an economic albatross. General Electric announced in 2010 that due to the new government regulations, it would close its last incandescent light bulb factory in the United States. The whole industry in the U.S. is now dead. Guess where the new, more expensive bulbs are manufactured? China.
If we are going to poison Americans and our environment, can’t we at least keep the manufacturing jobs here in America? But no. Instead, in our green energy hypocrisy, we will pay the Chinese to employ thousands of workers to manufacture environmentally harmful products that poison us.
Isaiah 3 anyone? ▪