In February 2011, I wrote a post about how the incandescent light bulb discovered by Thomas Edison was soon to go the way of the dinosaur thanks to new government regulations to encourage better energy efficiency.
Nanny State legislation at its finest!
The market for incandescent light bulbs is to be replaced by LED bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFLs have the very alarming problem of mercury exposure should one of these nasties ever break in your home. CFLs also pose an environmental threat to soil and water surrounding landfills as few folks recycle their CFLs choosing instead to throw them in the garbage for their unsuspecting garbage collector to have to deal with sans mask and gloves.
In the final statement of that previous post, I mention my hope that LED bulbs will offer a nontoxic, energy saving solution to CFLs when my stash of incandescent bulbs run out.
I’ve recently gotten an answer to that question and I’m not happy a happy camper. I’ll give you the good news first.
LED bulbs are indeed energy efficient. End of good news.
The bad news is that they are toxic and not necessarily a better choice than CFLs for your health or the environment.
How depressing! It seems stocking up on your incandescents is the only way to go at this point to tide you over until a nontoxic solution becomes commercially available – besides candles, that is!
Here’s the deal with LED bulbs:
A new study by the University of California Irvine has found LED bulbs to be loaded with lead, arsenic, and nickel. The high intensity red bulbs contained the most arsenic. Low intensity red lights had high amounts of lead, while white bulbs had lower amounts of lead but worrisome levels of nickel.
Like CFLs, LED bulbs should be treated as hazardous waste because broken bulbs in landfills threaten soil and groundwater with contamination.
Similarly, anyone who breaks an LED bulb in a home environment should don a mask and gloves and sweep up the pieces with a specially made broom (are they kidding?? Like that is going to ever happen). The team of UCI scientists also recommended safety gear for crews who respond to car crashes as LED technology is utilized for car headlights and traffic lights.
Can you imagine that? An EMT technician with mask and gloves trying to assist people injured in a car wreck? The ridiculousness of such a situation is almost comical if it wasn’t so incredibly sad.
Before something like LED or CFL bulbs are labeled as “eco-friendly” and a law is passed to essentially provide the manufacturers with a captive consumer base with no other purchasing choices, the inside of the bulb needs to be proven as green as the outside! Just because the bulb uses less energy than an incandescent does not make it environmentally friendly!
That’s what you always get when left brained bureaucrats attempt to “fix” the very right brained free market system.
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