Posted by: The Paris Apartment | October 24, 2009

A grain of sand is nothing, unless it’s in your eye

mercury

Since I started researching the Compact Fluorescent Light Culb (CFL), so many issues have come up that it’s beyond mind boggling. Everything from their production to disposal is an issue that’s complicated and heated.

One of the most interesting debates is on the Mercury content that’s present in each bulb. Some people say it’s an insignificant amount and not a big deal. But it’s not the drop that’s in the bulb that’s so frightening (unless you’re standing over it and breathe in the vapors when it breaks), but the real question is how much more Mercury is now needed to produce the bulbs, creating a need for even more energy.

The bulbs are proving to require so much energy in their production and disposal that they don’t come close to competing with a traditional incandescent.

I started asking questions to come to this conclusion of course, getting more involved than I’d planned but ultimately opening my eyes to a world that’s potentially devastating to the fate of our waters and communities.

First of all, how is Mercury harvested, and why are CFLs considered by the EPA to be Toxic Waste if broken if the small amount of Mercury they contain is harmless?

If you don’t air out the room for 15 minutes first (if you happen to know that) you, or kids or pets can suffer neurological damage from the vapors.

We could all suffer when hundreds of millions start leaching Mercury into landfills and improper clean-up affects those who don’t know wash clothing with broken shards can contaminate clean water.

The packaging is supposed to list all this but on this initial push to get the public on board they have not been publicizing it.

Worldwide, production of Mercury has relaxed environmental laws. In the United States its affects are still visible resulting in contaminated areas, aka Super Fund Sites. GE is responsible for between 78-88 of them and has fought the EPA for years in court to avoid cleanup of Mercury and other toxic chemicals throughout the US.

Just when the US government, World Bank and GE, (the number one leaders in world pollution) are able to do something productive, their partners, the EPA, are proposing new mines. This released on September 11, ’09:

EPA Releases Preliminary Results for Surface Coal Mining Permit Reviews

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has identified 79 proposed surface coal-mining projects in Appalachian states for further, detailed reviews of their pending permits.

Mercury Polluted lakes in Wisconson

Effects and complications of bulbs involving Migranes and General Sensitivity Studies

nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/sources.asp

gelighting.com/na/home_lighting/ask_us/downloads/MercuryInCFLs.pdf

ToxicMercury

mefeedia.com/news/23646047

Indonesia coal mine

whirledbank.org/environment/mining.html

mercurypolicy.org

informationliberation.com

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