© 2009 Keyword Articles. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by Article Dashboard
Home | Environment | Causes And Organizations
CFL Light Bulbs In Texas - Not The Brightest Idea?
By: Pat Carpenter
Mercury is poisonous, yet it's a critical part of most compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), the kind that environmentalists and
some governments are pushing as a new way to cut energy consumption. Mercury is probably best known for its effects on the
nervous system. It can also damage the kidneys and liver, and in sufficient quantities can cause death.
There were an estimated 150 million CFLs sold in the United States in 2006 and, and Wal-Mart alone hopes to sell 100 million in
2007. Some scientists and environmentalists are worried that most are ending up in garbage dumps. U.S. regulators, manufacturers
and environmentalists note that, because CFLs require less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, they reduce overall
mercury in the atmosphere by cutting emissions from coal-fired power plants.
But some of the mercury emitted from landfills - in the form of vaporous methyl-mercury - can get into the food chain more readily
than inorganic elemental mercury released directly from a broken bulb or even coal-fired power plants, according to government
scientist Steve Lindberg.
"Disposal of any mercury-contaminated material in landfills is absolutely alarming to me," said Lindberg, emeritus fellow of the U.S.
Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The mercury content in the average CFL -- now about 5 milligrams -- would fit on the tip of a ballpoint pen, according to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, and manufacturers have committed to cap the amount in most CFLs to 5 milligrams or 6
milligrams per bulb. To prevent mercury from getting into landfills, the EPA, CFL makers and various organizations advocate
recycling. Besides commercial recyclers and some municipal waste collection services, so