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Sunday, 22 July, 2018
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A not so Bright Idea

Date: 15 May, 2007

By: Chief

Imageave you been to WalMart (Wally World) lately? Or for that matter, most any large department store? Well, if you, like the majority of We the People, have been shopping of late you may have noticed that there is a new kind of light bulb for sale. Wally Word is really pushing the things and from what I gather other chain department stores are doing the same.

These 'new and improved' light bulbs, the compact fluorescent light bulb or CFL for short, are the latest gadget in the fight to save energy and reduce pollution. The green weenies or environmental wackos, also known as scum sucking dogs, think these new bulbs are wonderful and are really pushing their adoption throughout the world. Indeed, Australia passed a law banning the use of the old tried and true incandescent light bulb and mandating the use of the compact fluorescent light bulb instead.

Well hell's bells LeRoy, this is a boon to the manufacturers of CFLs and it will save energy and cut pollution. And it was an enlightened, pun intended, Australian government that led the way.

Oh ha.

What nobody has bothered to mention to us mere people is that compact fluorescent light bulbs have three distinct problems which incandescent bulbs do not have. The problems are:

So much for saving energy and reducing pollution eh?

The cost things cost, at a minimum, five times more than a four pack of incandescent bulbs and you only get half as many for a five fold increase in price. Secondly, it takes at least twice the number of CFLs to provide the same amount of illumination as incandescent bulbs. Gee, twice the number of bulbs at five times the price — what a deal.

The biggie

But the biggie, and I do mean biggie, is the mercury contained within each compact fluorescent light bulb.

To put this into perspective — if you drop and break an incandescent light bulb you simply just sweep or vacuum the pieces up and throw them in the trash. No big deal. It may cost you five minutes of time and several gulps of oxygen cussing, but again, no big deal.

The same cannot be said of CFLs. If you drop and break a CFL bulb be prepared for a least a two thousand dollar clean up bill.

Simply put, mercury is one of the most toxic and poisonous metals in the world. Period. You cannot just toss a dead or broken CFL into the trash can. You must dispose of it according to regulations. If you don't believe — fine, just read the back of a CFL package.

According to Steve Malloy of JunkScience and CSRWatch fame:

"As each CFL contains five milligrams of mercury, at the Maine 'safety' standard of 300 nanograms per cubic meter, it would take 16,667 cubic meters of soil to 'safely' contain all the mercury in a single CFL. While CFL vendors and environmentalists tout the energy cost savings of CFLs, they conveniently omit the personal and societal costs of CFL disposal" (emphasis added).

Um, that is one awful lot of dirt for a single light bulb.

Yeah but it won't happen to me. Well maybe and maybe not. I'm quite sure that Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, figured it would never happen to her. She was wrong. Quoting the Financial Times:

"Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter's bedroom: It dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor.

"Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her that the CFL contained mercury and that she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

"The DEP sent a specialist to Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state's 'safe' level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter. The DEP specialist recommended that Bridges call an environmental cleanup firm, which reportedly gave her a 'low-ball' estimate of US$2,000 to clean up the room. The room then was sealed off with plastic and Bridges began 'gathering finances' to pay for the US$2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn't cover the cleanup costs because mercury is a pollutant."

Well where in the Sam Thump are the environmental wacko groups? Why aren't they hollering, threatening, screaming and whining to all who are in ear shot about the dangers of CFLs? Puh-lease, the environmental wackos are, as usual, part of the problem. They want CFLs in peoples homes. They want incandescent bulbs outlawed.

This makes no sense whatsoever. Of course environmental wacko groups make no sense at all — ever. However, that is beside the point. The point is that CFLs are dangerous. The wackos know this. The government knows this. The CFL manufacturers know this. The retail stores know this. About the only group that doesn't know this is We the People. And we are the only group that matters. Yet we are, as is the norm, left in the dark.

Now the real bad news, quoting Steve Malloy:

"We'll eventually be disposing billions and billions of CFL mercury bombs. Much of the mercury from discarded and/or broken CFLs is bound to make its way into the environment and give rise to Superfund liability, which in the past has needlessly disrupted many lives, cost tens of billions of dollars and sent many businesses into bankruptcy" (emphasis added).

The bottom line is that the environmental wacko groups, government and retail giants such as Wally World want We the People to spend our hard earned dollars to buy millions of CFLs to reduce energy consumption by an insignificant small percentage all the while destroying our land because of the mercury contained in the blasted CFLs.

Me? I'm sticking to the good old, inexpensive, works fine and lasts a long time incandescent bulbs.

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