Toxic Light Bulbs To Be Forced on an Unsuspecting Public

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist February 1, 2011

I recently read an article which stated that the incandescent light bulb, you know, the one Thomas Edison came up with in 1880, is being phased out starting next year.

By 2014, only a few specialty incandescents will be available like three way bulbs and lights for plants and appliances.

No more simple incandescent bulbs that cast that warm, cozy glow over the pages of your book as you curl up reading each evening in your favorite chair!

Bulb in Plant

The incandescent bulb is being slowly but surely rooted out by the cold, impersonal light of the compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).     There is another option, called the LED bulbs, but as of this writing are virtually unknown in American stores.

So, at least for now, this leaves us with the CFLs.

My main beef with the CFLs is not the Antarctic light they cast.   While I don’t like CFL light nearly as much as the warm glow of incandescents, I could probably get used to it after awhile.    I’ve also noticed some of the newer CFL bulbs cast a much warmer glow than a few years ago.

My issue is with the small amount of mercury present in each CFL bulb not to mention the amount of dirty electricity your family is exposed to when you use fluorescent bulbs around your home.

Supporters of CFLs say that the small amount of mercury in the bulbs is less than the mercury emissions from coal fired power plants and CFLs use a lot less electricity than incandescents thereby significantly reducing those emissions.

My take is that mercury is a neurotoxin and is not safe in any amount, certainly not in your home.    What if that adventurous toddler knocks over a lamp and breaks one on your living room carpet?

The result is not just a pile of broken glass like what would happen with an incandescent bulb.  The result is exposure to a potent neurotoxin.

I don’t personally derive any level of comfort from claims that the small amount of mercury from a broken CFL would not contaminate a home or require an environmental crew to clean up the mess.   The FDA makes similar claims about dental amalgams too, but the fact is that people are experiencing toxic effects from them just the same.

CFLs Not Recycled by Most People

Another worrisome problem is that most people throw CFLs in the trash rather than recycle them despite laws against this in many areas of the country.     Not only does this potentially expose sanitation workers to high levels of mercury from multiple broken bulbs but it has the likelihood of turning our landfills into toxic waste dumps.   What’s more, CFLs that break near homes can contaminate the soil.

Adding to the problem is the lack of participation by big retailers such as Wal-Mart in assisting with the recycling effort.

Even General Electric, which has manufactured CFLs for about 20 years, says the small amount of mercury in each CFL bulb could add up to big contamination problems once incandescents are no longer available and sales of the toxic bulbs rapidly increase as expected starting in 2012.

Incandescents still represent about 80% of the market for bulbs in America with CFL bulbs accounting for only 17% of sales.

It seems to me that the switch from incandescent bulbs to CFLs represents a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.    I, for one, will not be embracing the CFL trend.    I’ve got quite a stash of incandescents that should last me a good long while and when those run out, hopefully this new LED bulb technology will offer a decent non-toxic solution for my home.

Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com

Source:  National Public Radio, CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch:  Toxic Mercury

Picture Credit

 

Comments (100)

  1. Ironically, the same govt mandating CFLs indoors is…wait for it…banning mercury-vapor lamps for outdoor use. You see these as street lamps and high intensity parking lot lamps and other outdoor lighting. The reason for their ban? Yep. … they contain mercury.

    So bad outdoors, good in your home.

    Reply
  2. ONE broken CFL produces an equivalent mercury as one full can of tuna. That is a fact. If you eat a lot of tuna…you get a lot of mercury;)

    Reply
  3. Pingback: ~ I like to LED ~ | moonshaman

  4. Lets talk about the real issue here. Not the tan your going to get from these stupid bulbs, Mercury. I thought, because of all these news programs, the government, and granola munching idiots, saying the amount is tiny in them, that there really wasn’t much to worry about with these things. Boy was I wrong. Normally I hear comparisons 5 mg (its also not 5 mg its .9 to 20mg, thats an average) of mercury in a cfl to a thermometer’s 500 mg or a thermostat’s 3000 mg (they are both now not sold because they are too toxic just fyi so good comparison) it is a misnomer. A cfl when broken disperses that mercury into tiny droplets that readily evapourate into a vapor which is directly inhaled and absorbed through the lungs at a rate of 80-97%. The Maine CFL study shows that enough mercury can be dispursed immediately into the air that it can poison you or your children. Rates over .1 mg/m3 were measured from one bulb breaking OSHA limits (ceiling never to surpass limits) for adults in the workplace. Mercury’s evapouration rate is based on surface area, a CFL throws millions of microscopic droplets into the air instantly (high surface area=high evapouration rate) A thermometers mercury is liquid and only vapourizes at a rate of .056mg per c2 of surface area PER HOUR!! Making a thermometer only as dangerous if dispersed around (vacuumed, walked in). So if you put your nose an inch from a broken thermometer, in an hour you would only get a dose of around .056 mg of mercury vapour and that’s if you inhaled every last bit an inch over it. It’s the way cfls vaporize their small amount if mercury that makes them dangerous. Yet the thermometer and the thermostat phased out but something more dangerous than these brought in, and than promoted without warning the public of very serious cleanup. See epa cleanup. But you don’t have to believe me. Read this study where they actually broke them and measured the vapour.( Google Maine cfl study) and just for a reference here’s the workplace limits (google OSHA workplace mercury vapor limits). I think the news people need to do some studying or research and inform the public. ITS ONLY A LIITLE BIT OF MERCURY!!!

    I brought these toxic things into my home. Guess what? One broke around my kids. And guess what? There are ZERO , yes ZERO epidemiological studies on the effects of this kind of acute exposure on developing brains. To add insult to injury it seems they contaminate your bedding, clothing and even contaminate your hardwood floor, even if proper EPA cleanup is done. So now I’m worried because I listened to news stations and the government both of which are supposed to inform and protect people. Its just a little bit of mercury, they say. Ya well break one in your home. Guess I’m the idiot that listened to “green” idiots and the stupid government.

    Here is the link for a chemist that has a blog he is really knowledgeable.
    http://www.heracliteanriver.com/?p=246

    Reply
  5. What no one seems to be talking about is all the UV radiation these new spiral CFL bulbs leak out. The bulbs work by passing a high voltage electrical current through mercury vapor, producing UV. The UV radiation then causes the phosphor coating the inside of the bulb to give off light. The problem is that cracks are formed in the phosphor during manufacturing when the tube is shaped into a spiral. This allows UV to get though when the bulb is on. In addition, CFLs seldom have acrylic diffusor panel coverings like fluorescent tubes in offices do.

    I can’t imagine all this extra UV is good for everyone. After all, it is not a good idea to spend too many hours out in direct sunlight. It could lead to premature wrinkling and increase the risk of skin cancer.

    I happen to be one of the individuals with skin sensitivity to these CFL spiral bulbs. My skin begins to feel irritated after about 20 minutes under CFL lighting. It feels as if my skin is being “ruffed up”, not exactly pain, but an uncomfortable mild soreness. It also strains my eyes after a while, and then for many hours afterwards my eyes continue to feel irritated. It’s like snowblindness, for those of you who have ever gone skiing.

    Reply
  6. Absolutely agree!! You’re right, we should have a choice and the toxic mercury is definitely a bad trade off to our current bulbs. Stand up and scream at to your government taking away freedoms one by one. I have added skylights to my house and use no electric lights during the daytime, but of course night time we still need light. I’ll be stock piling bulbs soon enough.

    Reply
  7. Tina Anneliese via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I found 100′s on clearance, I bought what they had. Another inflationary and health robbing policy of our government.

    Reply
  8. Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    LED bulb testing shows they are similar to CFL bulbs – LED bulbs produce stronger magnetic fields than old-fashioned incandescent. For folks sensitive or concerned about dirty electricity and the health effects of them. incandescent bulbs are still the best choice. It’s my understanding that some LEDs test safe, but they are pricey.

    Reply
  9. Juliana Fisher via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    There were dimmable 60watt replacement LEDs for $15 at Costco when I was there last, which, for a bulb that is supposed to last forever, is something I can stomach now and again. I bought three, and maybe if I buy 3 more next year we’ll be good to go for a while.

    Reply
  10. We have all LED’s and they are wonderful. We use 100watts when our whole house is lit, they have great light and they were about $3 each at Costco. The cost savings is worth it, why use technology that creates heat and wastes energy? Over the life of our LED’s they will be far cheaper and will create less waste than all the incandescent or fluorescents.

    Reply
  11. It sounds like that our government is turning socialist/communist. I mean, think about it. The government is raising taxes, amassing power, controlling nearly everything.
    I don’t know about you, but I think I might move to Russia. At least they have learned their lesson.

    Reply
  12. Yes and the more humble minded homeowner and their reading lamp doesn’t even add up to a drop in a bucket or ocean for that matter, as far as the drive for the electricity demand that is causing the power plants to pollute so much. You’re speaking as though switching to CFLs would eliminate mercury emissions. It would be such a small reduction and numbers! Numerical info on that projection would be the most relevant data. Plus, soon now I believe there’s legislation coming for companies and industry to be able to buy carbon credit and any electricity credits. So that would mean I save a tiny bit of usage with great discomfort and by exposing myself to toxic mercury gas right in my own four walls so that some huge industrial e- consumer can just suck up my small savings. It’s very rare that the possible environmental benefits citizens could reap from being conscionable energy users will ever be seen with the way things are set up these days. So especially if they’re very small and objectionable it shouldn’t be mandated by law. I focus on heat usage, AC usage, hot water, water and washing in general with my savings and see real results.

    Reply
  13. Stephanie Pendergrass Dalke via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

    @ Holly – I’m not saying everyone should do EVERYthing, I’m just saying that people need to present better information on complicated issues such as light bulb choices if they are going to recommend that one way is better for health than another.

    Reply
  14. Yeah- I guess many are stockpiling because when I go to buy 60 watt or lower incandescent they never have them! Lol! I do feel 100watts are awfully bright and usually unnecessary. I love lower wattage like 40 watt plus it saves energy. I definitely don’t feel any should be outlawed socialist enviro-nazi style though.

    Reply
  15. Stephanie Pendergrass Dalke via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

    My main issue is her calling this recommendation “green-minded” — it is misleading and not really about the environment. Too casual of a claim without presenting the full picture. If mercury is the issue (and yes it is concerning and they need to find alternatives), way more mercury is introduced into the environment from power plants than from CFL light bulbs. “In 2006, coal-fired power plants produced 1,971 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity, emitting 50.7 tons of mercury into the air–the equivalent amount of mercury contained in more than 9 billion CFLs.” See one analysis here: http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/news/4217864. My pet peeve: seeing recommendations like this perpetuated without all the costs and benefits being mentioned.

    Reply
  16. Lucretia Johnson via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I thought I was the only one stockpiling my incandescent light bulbs! Those CFL bulbs cause depression and they’re just not healthy for people.

    Reply
  17. Stephanie- each and every person cannot be an activist in every single area. That doesn’t mean they’re any less mindful and helpful to an ailing planet than you. As I said earlier too, many people who are this health conscious are also way less huge consumers than most and most I’ve met are WAY frugal about their impact on the earth. I come from a place where there are many people who are “the environmentally self righteous” and honestly, I cannot STAND that attitude. People who always think that you’re not doing enough or as much as them. Who try to call you out if you aren’t taking action on their particular pet environmental activist issue.

    Reply
  18. Being in the architecture industry, I am consistently floored by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) anti-incandescent stance, and promotion of LED and CFL, giving points to buildings seeking LEED certification for using such. Actual attention to real health inside a building is totally ignored, and when I’ve brought this up to directors of large chapters, it’s completely pushed to the side with a load of green-washing. It’s a shame.

    Reply
  19. Stephanie, it is said that CFLs aren’t even more efficient unless they’re on for a long period of time. At this time, it is by no means a no-brainer for CFLs or LEDs. Let the consumer have a choice. Electric light hurts my head.

    I commend the efforts to reduce unnecessary lighting, especially at night. I’m a big fan of that effort.

    Reply
  20. Kelly Lamb via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I thought I had read somewhere (a while back) that these new bulbs aren’t truly capable of being recycled and that was a problem with making them basically the only option. What really eats me up is that the people making decisions for our country are swayed by their own personal interests and the almighty dollar, so they don’t even ask or consider the potential downsides and harmfulness of something that is pushed to be mandated.

    Reply
  21. Jack Plating via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

    1000bulbs.com often runs great sales on incandescent bulbs. I recently got a few cases of 100w bulbs at 30 cents each! Stock up now folks!

    Reply
  22. Stephanie Pendergrass Dalke via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Yes, commercial energy usage is one huge area for major energy savings. Do you all actually pressure companies to turn off excess lights? (i will be volunteering with a group in my city next spring to do that, BTW. Commercial building lights attract & kill migrating birds AND waste energy). Don’t pretend that we shouldn’t take personal responsibility for our own electricity usage either though.

    Reply
  23. There are other entities besides the humble homeowner with their tiny bulb that need to go ahead ant take on the bulk of the energy saving needed. They’re the selfish energy pigs and only their being more frugal with energy usage and carbon emissions would make a REAL difference. Of course, I live much more simply already than the average American and I’m sure many who frequent Sarah’s blog do also. It’s good to do elsewhere to hop on your “save the environment” soap box.

    Reply
  24. Stephanie- are you serious?! Huge companies and box stores- mass manufacturers etc WASTE TONS of electricity every second and they want to take away my comforting normal spectrum lightbulb?? Don’t be brainwashed! I don’t even use over 40 watt either! Just ONE of those huge lamps they leave FLARING over an empty parking lot all night counts for THOUSANDS of my tiny little bulbs I leave on for a little while each night! Don’t be willing to bend to their will so easily and be such a servile sheeple

    Reply
  25. Though these might be too expensive for most, there is a LED option available in America – Best Buy sells LED lights ranging from $9 for small candle size to $57 for flood light blubs, $30-40 the average for typical type bulbs.

    Reply
  26. I say badger companies to produce better incandescents. I very frequently use a 250W light near me when I don’t get enough sunshine, it helps in the winter. I don’t think me using it is going to make more pollution overall from coal plants. I save electricity in other ways, especially in the summer when everyone has their AC on full blast (biggest electricity waster).

    Reply
  27. Stephanie Pendergrass Dalke via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:28 am

    CFLs have improved greatly and price has come down over years; no reason to expect that LEDs also won’t improve in quality and drop in price. Why not switch to candles and lanterns if the light spectrum and mercury are concerns, or badgering companies to create better bulbs?

    Reply
  28. If you have Lupus or any other disease that us exacerbated by the sun you will be made sick just by having the lights on in your own home. Fluorescents in office buildings are one of the many reasons I can’t work. They should be against the ADA.

    Reply
  29. Stephanie Pendergrass Dalke via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I have to take issue with this. Incandescent bulbs waste 90% of the electricity going through them as heat. That means more unnecessary pollution from coal-fired power plants (which is where most mercury in fish comes from and most electricity in many regions). Green-minded people should use incandescents, really?? Or perhaps you mean, people more concerned about their own quality of life over our collective health?

    Reply
  30. Make sure you don’t buy full-spectrum incandescent bulbs unless they’re for a room that you won’t be in after sunset. They’ll trick your body into thinking it’s still daylight and you won’t want to go to sleep. Be sure to keep your bedroom dark and run F.lux on your PC to dim the color temperature on your monitor after sunset too.

    CFL bulbs are mercury vapor grenades. Vapor is the absolute worst form of mercury to be exposed to. Gets into the brain. I guess they’re trying to cover poisoning people who don’t get mercury dental amalgams.

    Reply
    • i accidentally bought “day light” lightbulbs for our canned lights. It sounded good but I didn’t really know what it entailed. They look like regular canned light lightbulbs, because the little curly q is inside the regular looking glass. when the lights in the kitchen are on it feels like i am in a subway station, especially at night. hate it. keep thinking of throwing them away but I hate to waste the money I spent on them.

      Reply
  31. Renée Girard Groening via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I hate the CFL curley-q bulbs! Every one we have tried has burned out in much less time than an incandescent! They are more expensive and the claims that they last longer have not been proven in our house. The light isn’t as nice, and they are even ugly to look at when not in use. And I am so afraid of breaking one!

    Reply
  32. Renée Girard Groening via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I hate the CFL curley-q bulbs! Every one we have tried has burned out in much less time than an incandescent! They are more expensive and the claims that they last longer have not been proven in our house. The light isn’t as nice, and they are even ugly to look at when not in use. And I am so afraid of breaking one!

    Reply
  33. Hedda Gizeh via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Here in Germany, we already have that. I was hoping the US would not jump on that waggon :/ CFLs are toxic, they don’t fit everywhere, they are UGLY, the light they produce is TERRIBLY ugly, and they are expensive, too. Oh, and in rooms where the light is only switched on for short periods of time they don’t even save energy (think bathroom or walk-in closets…), and they take a while until they reach their full brightness. Plus, the more you switch them on and off (like in a bathroom or hallway), the earlier they need to be replaced. LEDs migth not be toxic, but the light is terrible, too, and who can afford those?

    Reply
  34. Hedda Gizeh via Facebook December 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Here in Germany, we already have that. I was hoping the US would not jump on that waggon :/ CFLs are toxic, they don’t fit everywhere, they are UGLY, the light they produce is TERRIBLY ugly, and they are expensive, too. Oh, and in rooms where the light is only switched on for short periods of time they don’t even save energy (think bathroom or walk-in closets…), and they take a while until they reach their full brightness. Plus, the more you switch them on and off (like in a bathroom or hallway), the earlier they need to be replaced. LEDs migth not be toxic, but the light is terrible, too, and who can afford those?

    Reply
  35. Now, that was supposed to happen in 2012, and they changed their mind. Are we thinking it’s actually going to happen this next year?

    LEDs are atrocious and give me headaches, and CFLs have mercury contained in glass, something we already decided was a bad idea in thermometers.

    Reply
  36. Pingback: Lightbulbs and Mercury | Divine Health

  37. OK. Worse case scenario, you don’t open a window and accidentally eat the entire light bulb:
    It is roughly equivalent of eating 2 cans of tuna a week for a year.

    The 5 milligrams in a typical fluorescent bulb is equivalent to the mercury you would consume eating 95 tins of tuna, the healthy fish, which has 52.7 micrograms of mercury in each small can.

    Reply
    • If you ate the bulb 1/1000 would be adsorbed (not toxic). If you breathed the vapours it’s an 80% uptake strait to your bloodstream. 50 ug (1000 ug in a mg) per liter of blood is enough for basic mercury poisoning. A child has 1 liter of blood. 5 mg is an average there is between 1 and 20 mg in a bulb. If you consumed 95 cans of tuna in 1 day the mercury would poison you severely. That’s like saying if you smoke a pack a day of cigarettes then its ok to smoke 365 packs in one day. That’s stupid it would kill you. Or that if you ate the recommended amount of even table salt for a day but consumed the amount for a year in a day. It would also kill you. You may need a lesson on acute exposures vs cronic.

      Reply
  38. I’ve been watching this LED market for a while now. The technology keep improving… so much so that there are LED lights being used for indoor growing. It’s early yet so I expect this industry to really boom as the technology progresses.

    Do a few searches and you’ll see some amazing results people are getting with these lights in terms of growing food. And it’s so much cheaper than all those energy hogging high heat grow lights of the past.

    Reply
    • Then there’s the opposite view. I’m ok with LED lights, and started collecting them, a little bit at a time, since I learned of the regulation years ago. We’re mostly LED now and change a lot fewer light bulbs. Our home improvement stores have carried LEDs for years and the price just keeps getting better. At the moment CFLs have been relegated to garage and outdoor lights and when they go they get replaced with LEDs too.

      There are more options than just being upset about incandescent bulbs. I’m far more worked up about my beloved halogen and my inability to replace it when the wiring dies.

      Reply
  39. I concur with all of the comments above. Now that I have acquired “senior citizen” status I have more eye problems and the CFL’s do not provide enough light to read with. Yes, I have four bulbs in each bathroom. Each time my local electric company sends me coupons I make notes on them and return them with my opinion. I even asked if they had an Hazmat team that would come to my house for a clean up. There should be warning signs in stores but not likely would they be read.
    You can bet if they were to try and control paper towels, diapers and plastic containers there would be a bigger outrage. We all need to let our politicians know we want this law repealed.

    Reply
  40. OK – for all you know it alls…..

    The Mercola bulb is a fluorescent bulb…ALL FLUORESCENT BULBS CONTAIN SMALL AMOUNTS OF MECURY….it’s the only way to get them to light…Duh !

    People – the mercury does not come out whenthe light is on, it’s only exposed if the bulb breaks. The amount of mercury in 500 CFL bulbs is less than the mercury in one old thermometer.

    Finally, the COLOR of the light in soft white CFLS is IDENTICAL to the color of light in an incandescent.

    I agree that the government should not be telling us what light bulbs to use, but they already tell the car companies how many MPG we have to get, and they tell you how much you are going to pay in taxes, they tell you a lot of things you don’t like. At least you can save 75% on your lighting costs.

    Reply
    • Comparing mercury content between cfls and thermometers is a bad comparison. First off thermometers containing mercury are no longer made because they are too toxic. Secondly it’s the dose and the route of exposure that determine dose and toxicity. If you were to break a thermometer (and not spread it around) the resulting bead of liquid mercury would evapourate (at room temperature) at 56 ug per hour per c2. So you would have to sit there for hours huffing directly over the drop to get poisoned. If you played with the mercury there is very low absorbtion through undamaged skin. If you ate the mercury only 1/1000 would be absorbed. The difference between a broken thermometer and a cfl is the fact that the cfl spews its mercury into millions of tiny droplets drastically increasing the surface area and evaporating quickly. This results in air concentrations of between 20 and 100 ug/m3 right away. Not 50 ish ug per hour. Making these far more dangerous for an acute exposure than a thermometer or even a larger quantity like a thermostat 3000 mg. As you should see they are deceiving you (either through ignorance or purposely) by comparing the size (would fit on a pin head) or total amount of mercury in a bulb. This is not my opinion. This is fact.

      Reply
  41. Pingback: Potential Issues of Energy Saving Light Bulbs - Eco Xpo Australia

  42. Boy, am I glad to see so many people are aware of this INSANE legislation!! I HATE CFLs! The nice warm glow of the incandescents is tantamount and necessary to making my home (and obviously a lot of posters here,) comfortable and livable.
    And why on earth are LIGHT BULBS being singled out?? There are hundreds of other polluting and energy wasting items and topics that could be addressed without importing billions of light bulbs from China. (For example: Meat production, fertilizer use in lawn care, importing petroleum products, etc.) Just the amount of energy it takes to get them over here negates the “savings” at energy plants here in the U.S. And if I have to DRIVE to a recycling center, where is the conservation in that?
    I’m with Rebekkah who posted that we need to REPEAL this ridiculous law. Nothing has infuriated me more than this governmental intrusion… I got used to “low-flow” shower heads that keep you running water for three times longer in order to rinse properly, and low-flow toilets that often take two flushes– but legislating a TOXIC item that must be manufactured overseas is the government run amok. (It has also put people out of work here in the U.S.; see this Washington Post article:
    http://tinyurl.com/3ah8dvs
    If the government was THAT worried about energy use and consumption, they’d limit the number of SUVs produced every year or even the number of cars allowed per household and then develop some usable public transport in every city… OR, how about saying only 2 kids per house?

    But leave my damn light bulbs alone.

    Reply
  43. Great comments from so many caring people. Keep spreading the word …
    Our great country is based on democracy, freedom of choice ! Let’s strive to keep it
    that way… We all make choices everyday, some good, some bad, but it’s certainly
    not the governments right to make them for us. the insidious nature of all this
    regulation is undermining our freedoms. Please care

    Reply
  44. Just because a law is scheduled to go into effect doesn’t mean it will. Nancy Polosi who was the pusher of this bill is no longer in a powerful position, and who says you all can lobby your government to repeal this? You can bet the lighting industry would be if they weren’t going to just switch over to making the different types of bulbs. We had one burst at my parents house on thanksgiving and the smell was awful. I have only 2 in the whole house, i use one in my lighting rig for photography and the other is in some random high hat. What is worse? wasting energy or environmental toxins…I think the toxins are way worse! Life the metric system coming to America, I hope the same thing happens to these light bulbs. Not to mention users have much higher levels of SAD!!! So the CFL spectrum is not good for you!
    Alex at a Moderate Life\’s last post: Hearth and Soul Hop-Volume 33!

    Reply
  45. I just read the bill passed in ’07. All bulbs under 40 watts will still be “legal”, but higher wattage bulbs will not be available.

    Usually a 40 watt bulb will do. But it;’s not the government’s place to tell me that’s what I should have. How about instead educating people on the wasted energy by using higher wattage bulbs, leaving the lights on unnecessarily, using too many bulbs in 1 fixture (who really needs 6 bulbs over the bathroom sink?), etc.?

    It’s just easier to ban it. And the public just swallows it, hook, line, and sinker.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist February 1, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Good points, Chris. My bathroom fixtures have room for 5 bulbs and I use only one. Plenty of light.

      Reply
  46. We had one break a few summers ago when a lamp got bumped off a table by a breeze through an open window one night. I was not about to evacuate my home during the night. We stocked up in incandescent bulbs .. enough to last my lifetime perhaps. I don’t like the thought of them all in the landfill .. cuz you know people don’t take the time to recycle.
    Mrs. Mac\’s last post: Turning To Garden Thoughts

    Reply
  47. Mercury is a deadly toxin. Why is it used in anything?

    On top of that, these china made bulbs break easily, burn out quickly, and can easily turn part of your home into a toxic waste dump. Why would any sane person want to use them?

    And the only allowed alternatives, the LED, are VERY expensive. What a coincidence.

    Our government protects profit, not people.

    As Melinda pointed out, the unnatural light given off by these toxic bulbs give people migraines. It also makes people tired and less productive, and interferes with the thinking process. Not to mention the freedom we have lost.

    Reply
  48. Catherine Hochschild February 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Personally, I’ll be gradually converting over to candles. I have some friends who make beeswax ones–the light is beautiful and there’s certainly no concern about toxins!

    Reply
  49. Why is there mercury in lightbulbs anyway? Why is such a toxic substance allowed in a common household item that could easily be broken or misplaced?
    Well, I’m going to miss that soft glow that incandescent bulbs give off and always disliked the pale green glow of CFL lights, but I guess thats the way it is.

    Reply
    • What a disempowered attitude. In my world it is not just the way it is. There is ALWAYS an option….regardless of what the government THINKS they can do to you. I WON’T be going along with this. CFLs have caused me to feel ill in the past and it won’t be coming into my home. If you don’t like it then don’t settle for it.

      Reply
  50. Years ago, we used CFLs to keep the heat down in our home. After much trial and error we discovered the CFL bulbs were giving three of us migraines. We switched back to incandescent and the migraines went away.

    I guess I need to stock pile incandescent bulbs. Even if they make an environmentally friendly CFL, it wouldn’t solve the migraine problem. Maybe we need to start going to bed with the chickens.

    Reply
  51. This law is completely ridiculous! I agree with everything said. I don’t want mercury in my home, I don’t want to be told what lightbulbs I’m allowed to use and I hate the light given off by CFLs- it’s cold and it makes the house and everyone in it look dreary and dull. I also experience more migraines from fluorescent lighting. Not to mention, the EMFs put out by these bulbs…. Plus, they are not environmentally friendly from a manufacturing standpoint either (in addition to the landfill and soil toxicity Sarah mentions). Crazy!! I’ll be stockpiling some incandescents myself. Dr Mercola talks about full spectrum lighting as an alternative- it’s just VERY pricey!
    Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health\’s last post: Antibiotics For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Reply
    • I have one of the lightbulbs that Mercola sold long ago when he debuted the full spectrum information on his website. It gets used as my main light source every evening and all day when it’s cloudy outside, and I’ve had that bulb at least four years, maybe five. It’s still doing well. In my book, it’s been a great investment!

      Reply
      • Mercola is a hypocrite. Talks about toxins all the time, how bad mercury is (even in amalgam fillings) yet he pimps his mercury filled lightbulbs because he can make money on them. Nice that a fragile glass bulb vaporizes mercury into your home and contaminates everything it touches. I know we’ve had tubes forever in kitchens etc. but I’d like to see a toddler go get the ladder and climb up to the ceiling, take the cover off and smash a tube. My toddler knocked over a lamp and the “tough cfl glass” broke. We didnt know they were this bad. They should have warnings all over the package.

        Reply
  52. I agree completely. I’ve had concerns about CFLs since they came out and am worried about the after effects of completely phasing out regular incandescent bulbs. We are stocking up on incandescent bulbs and looking to convert to LED once we can’t get them anymore. I agree with Audry though… it makes me really mad that the government thinks it has a right to legislate things like this!
    Katie @ Wellness Mama\’s last post: Fast and Healthy Meal Plan

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  53. We have a place for recycling CFLs at the Home Depot by our house. Also, around the area where I live, you can buy LED light bulbs, they are just insanely expensive!!

    Reply
  54. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama February 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

    My kids actually DID break one, once. Unscrewed it from a lamp one day and brought it in the kitchen — immediately taken away. But they climbed up (they just never stop…all that real food gives them a ton of energy) and knocked it down on my kitchen floor. I got them out and cleaned it up as best I could. It was cold so I couldn’t get them outside really. But it makes me mad. Why should I have toxic things in my home?! Not to mention in most of our lights they don’t even last. They say they last like 5 years, but we’ve had them burn out in just a few months, far sooner than incandescent bulbs. Then what’s cheaper and more efficient??

    And I agree with Audry, the gov’t has no place regulating so much of our lives!
    Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama\’s last post: Handling Picky Real-Food Toddlers

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist February 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Kate, you are so right .. those CFLs don’t last as long as hyped on the packaging. Not by a long shot.

      Reply
    • I also think they are engineering the incandescents to fail (like how they do with computers and other electronics). Mine burn out in a matter of months. I have a few fixtures with five lightbulbs and they will burn out one each day after only a few months. Maybe so we will accept the new lightbulbs a little more willingly.

      Reply
  55. Pingback: Tweets that mention Toxic Light Bulbs To Be Forced on an Unsuspecting Public — The Healthy Home Economist -- Topsy.com

  56. My biggest beef with this isn’t with the mercury, but with the fact that the government thinks it’s its place to make legislation like this! This ban of incandescent light bulbs is completely unconstitutional and outside the authority of congress, and yet, there it is. And this is only one minor symptom of an enormous problem. Why is our government being allowed to run amok like this, passing legislation to regulate every minute part of every person’s life? We’ve been stocking up on incandescent bulbs – a few at a time – since this bill was passed a couple years ago.

    Reply
      • We had mostly made the switch to these for economic reasons, but now I’m totally with Audry. It blows my mind the things the government is controlling these days. Light bulbs and food now? What’s next? Yikes!

        And FYI those toddlers/children certainly have and do break those bulbs because you can clip their lamps a lot closer to their pillows with out risk of fire…never mind the NEROTOXIN they are consuming…thanks guys. :p

        Reply
    • I’m with you on this one! It kind of just confuses me as to why they would tell us we are no longer to get a certain type of lightbulb. Why? Lightbulbs? Come one.

      What’s wrong with the old ones? Is it really about electricity consumption? I can’t imagine that those bulbs are really what’s sucking the electricity up. Isn’t there a better use of time and resources to reduce electricity consumption? I really don’t know. I’m a bit ignorant on this one.

      And also, the mercury does scare me. Why are the bulbs that contain the mercury going to be the ones that are legal? That seems backwards to me.

      Reply
      • Had to chime in here. Why lightbulbs? It’s an area that seems insignificant that they can make us do something and they will see how willingly we comply. Then they’ll step it up a bit and on and on until the bloated government big brother is in every facet of our lives. It’s got to be done a little at a time so we don’t notice or put up much of a fight and just stay complacent.

        Why mercury? I think they want us to become more and more stupid. Why GMO and soy and dirty water and depleted soil and HFCS? If we are dumbed down we’ll be easier to control. See the first paragraph.

        This might sound far fetched to some, but this is the only conclusion I can draw.

        Reply
    • Give this woman a prize.

      100% agreed… stop telling me what to buy, what to use, where to go and how to live.

      It boggles my mind how much crap people put up with from these political shills.

      Reply

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