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The Dangers of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

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I never liked CFLs.

In fact, I believe we should contact our legislators and call for a repeal of the ban on incandescent lights, telling them about the health risks and the lack of proper disposal methods for the compact fluorescent light bulbs that are replacing the incandescents.

I say this because what appeared to be something good for energy conservation has real consequences for human health.

There’s the article at realfarmacy.com that raises the red flag, and another article (among many others) from cbs news that echos the same concerns.

The energy-saving light bulbs can actually emit UV radiation. Researchers from Stony Brook University found microscopic cracks in the protective, phosphor coating in all of the bulbs they analyzed.

Results showed high levels of UVA and UVC in all of the bulbs and UVB in more than half of them. They exposed skin cells to the bulbs and results were disturbing, showing damage comparable to going outside without sunscreen.

I was always skittish about using these bulbs, at first because I didn’t like the cool light emitted and found the incandescent light warmer in color (they’ve improved in that aspect), but then because I knew they contained mercury that you can easily come in contact with when they break.

I also knew that most people don’t realize you can’t dispose of these bulbs in the trash or you’ll be contaminating the landfill.

How many people will use caution when throwing these bulbs away whether they’re broken or not?

What if the bulbs break when your pet knocks over a lamp when you’re not at home? Mercury vapor is highly toxic, and many people are completely unaware that there’s a specific procedure to follow if you break a bulb according to the EPA.

Now, I know there are some people of a…ahem…certain age that actually played with mercury as children, because either our parents didn’t know about it’s toxicity or they did know but our playing with the magic silver fluid kept us occupied and not on their nerves for so  long it was worth it. :-D

I think an entire generation may be brain-damaged as a result. :-0

I checked on snopes.com for more on CFL dangers and they believe there’s a mix of both true and false information being circulated regarding the specific claim that CFLs release dangerous amounts of mercury when broken, but I personally believe there’s enough reason for concern about this as well as the UV radiation danger.

What do you think? Are you on board with these bulbs or do you feel we’re being forced to buy a product that really has more downsides than upsides?

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