Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Save Us $$$ on Power Bills

But can they harm us too?

Have you replaced your old bulbs with energy saving light bulbs? If you have, here is some information you probably should have.

German scientists now say that several carcinogenic chemicals are released when compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are switched on. These chemicals include naphthalene, phenol and styrene. When the light is switched on an ‘electrical smog develops around these lamps’.

The report from Berlin’s Alab Laboratory said; “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.” But these energy saving light bulbs, touted as being the bulbs we should all be using, are already widely used in many households by people thinking they are doing a good thing.

In the UK, traditional incandescent lighting will be phased out by the end of this year. That is a lot of light bulbs, but are they going to hurt us?

Andreas Kirchner, of the Federation of German Engineers, advice is: “…use them only very economically. They should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head.”

This is not the only consideration. Although they contain mercury, limited at 5mg per lamp, it cannot escape from a lamp that is intact. But what about when the CFL bulbs are broken; then a small amount of mercury will obviously leak out. This presents a risk to the person holding the broken light bulb, and also in landfills.

A UK Department for the Environment spokesperson said: “In any case, the very small amount contained in an energy efficient bulb is unlikely to cause harm even if the lamp should be broken.”

Adapted from The Telegraph, Energy saving light bulbs 'contain cancer causing chemicals' By Victoria Ward, 7:16AM BST, 20 Apr 2011

Well, I wouldn’t panic yet. Obviously more research is needed to counteract this flaw so we can all get on with the business of going green and saving energy.

Yes, I have recommended on this website to use CFLs for their energy saving function. Just understand one thing before you get upset with me. ALL fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and unfortunately that is just how they work at the moment.

I guarantee you I will switch over to mercury-free energy saving light bulbs the instant they become available and are a viable option, which is of course on the drawing board.

New Mercury Free LED Bulbs

There are many teams involved in research and development of mercury free energy saving light bulbs; to produce a COST EFFECTIVE alternative LED bulb (which, by the way, radically reduces energy consumption even further than CFLs) and contains zero mercury. LED bulbs are clearly the bulb of the future. Unfortunately, this technology is still far too expensive. At the moment, each bulb would cost between $50 and $100. The other challenge is to produce an LED bulb that has a similar beneficial wavelength as full spectrum bulbs.

However, I’m confident that this will all change in the near future as demand increases. In the meantime, I am convinced that the full-spectrum CFL bulbs I currently offer are the healthiest and most cost effective form of artificial lighting available anywhere today.

Environmental Mercury Emissions -- A significant issue many people fail to appreciate is that because CFL bulbs reduce energy consumption by as much as 75 percent, they also vastly reduce coal burning, which is THE most common source of energy production in the U.S., which currently deposits 104 METRIC TONS of mercury into the air, each and every year!

So by reducing the total energy consumption with these bulbs, the overall environmental mercury burden is significantly lowered.

To give you another example of the drastically reduced mercury emissions that can be accomplished by switching to CFLs; according to EnergyStar calculations, if ALL 290 million CFL light bulbs sold during 2007 were broken and sent to a landfill instead of being recycled, they would release 0.13 metric tons of mercury into the environment.

That worst case scenario -- if EVERY bulb sold in the U.S. last year were broken -- the mercury in the environment is still a mere fraction of the 104 metric tons of mercury emissions we’re currently producing through our wasteful energy consumption. 1/10 of ONE metric ton versus over 100 tons.

That is a 1,000 FOLD difference, even in a worst case scenario. Clearly, when you use these bulbs you will LOWER environmental mercury, and if you are cautious and responsible and return the bulbs to recycling centers like Home Depot, you can make that difference even more dramatic.

Source: "Home Depot Recycles Compact Fluorescent Bulbs" by Dr Mercola

Dispose of Your CFL Bulbs Responsibly

Home Depot, the nation’s second-largest retailer, has announced that it will take back old compact fluorescents in all of its U.S. stores, creating the nation’s most widespread recycling program for the bulbs.

I think Home Depot is doing a great job by taking charge of a vital component of the switch over to energy saving light bulbs, by giving you a way to comply without much hassle or expense. They’re the second largest retailer in the U.S., with store locations that are convenient to most people.

For those Americans who do not have access to a Home Depot, epa.gov/bulbrecycling and earth911.org can help you identify a local recycling facility.”

In AUSTRALIA -- FluoroCycle is a voluntary, national scheme that aims to increase recycling of mercury-containing lamps.
For safe disposal of energy saving light bulbs: Please check with your local authority to determine what conditions apply where you live.

If you break an energy-saver light bulb, or any light bulb for that matter,
ALWAYS clean up with protective gloves and wear shoes.
If you can, use a face mask to protect yourself.

Go Green with Energy Saving Light Bulbs Today!

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