Friday, March 25, 2011

CFLs Again

CFLs Again

I've heard from a lot of readers with their disappointments about CFLs. One reader had two CFLs explode in indoor settings--which is really quite scary, when think about the fact that they contain mercury vapor. Several readers have indicated that when used in frequent on and off settings, the lifetime is quite disappointing--no better than the dramatically cheaper incandescent bulbs that they replaced. In short, if you are environmentally responsible, turning off lights when not in use--you will pay a pretty penny for doing so.

Another reader tells me that his Home Depot accepts dead CFLs for recycling. I should hope so! I'll find out if that is true here as well.

Finally, one reader mentioned this tragedy going on in China:
But while the environmental and economic advantages of using fluorescent bulbs are paramount, there are also some costs. Fluorescent bulbs work by using electricity to excite mercury vapor, and mercury can be a dangerous, toxic pollutant, perhaps most readily vilified due to its prevalence in the ocean food chain. Thus, proper disposal and care of fluorescent lightbulbs need to come hand in hand with their wide use, otherwise they bring the risk of increased mercury contamination in the environment.
The problem is confounded in the manufacturing process if that mercury is not safely contained and controlled. And that’s precisely the concern in China, where most of the world’s fluorescent lightbulbs are produced, and where factory conditions are poorly regulated and environmentally porous.
In fact, in many cases the factory conditions are downright deplorable, and aside from the long term environmental damage that comes from mercury contamination, hundreds of Chinese workers are exposed to mercury poisoning on a daily basis. These problems have recently escalated due to a rapid increase in foreign demand, particularly because of the European Union’s directive making fluorescent bulbs compulsory by 2012.

And all so that we can prevent global warming that may or may not be happening, and may or may not be partially man's doing! At least partly this push towards CFLs is because the Chinese government seems to own the Democratic Party. I suspect that they pushed for the CFL requirement in the EU through their puppets there as well.

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