28Compact Fluorescent Lights Dumping Mercury Directly into Landfills
Filed Under Big Government, Emerging Tech, Mercury
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs have become all the rage over the past several years, touted by many as the preferable “green” way to light a home, save energy, and promote environmental responsibility. While they may use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, CFL bulbs are filled with toxic mercury that, when disposed of, contaminates landfills and the environment. A report released in 2008 from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection revealed that when a CFL bulb is broken, it can release dangerously high levels of mercury into the air. Mercury-vapor standards generally allow for 300 nanograms of mercury per cubic meter of air, however a broken CFL bulb can emit upwards of 50,000 nanograms per cubic meter, or more than 166 times the safe upper threshold.
In Toronto, city officials require people to dispose of CFL bulbs at special hazardous waste facilities because they don’t want the city’s landfills to become contaminated with mercury. While used CFL bulbs are not legally recognized as hazardous waste, they are treated as such because they pose serious environmental threats when broken and released into the environment.
Waste runoff and ground seepage from landfills can contaminate rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and underground water tables. Even though landfills are generally designed to minimize this kind of contamination, the rapidly growing usage of CFL bulbs could have disastrous environmental consequences if they are not disposed of properly.
CFL bulbs also emit high levels of radiation, causing migraine headaches, sleep abnormalities, fatigue, and other health problems. Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs, CFL bulbs emit excessive “dirty energy,” or electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs), a fact that has received little attention from those on the mainstream “green” bandwagon who continue to endorse CFLs as the solution to the alleged climate change crisis.
The voltage reduction technology in CFL bulbs causes high amounts of EMF pollution to be emitted. Similar to the kind released from mobile phone antennas and food irradiation machinery, EMF radiation poses serious health threats to humans who are exposed to excessive amounts of it. CFL bulbs have been found to greatly increase EMF exposure as they are often the most significant EMF polluters in homes that use them.
Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, on the other hand, are a much safer alternative to CFL bulbs. Those who wish to transition from traditional incandescent bulbs to something that uses less energy would do well to investigate LED alternatives. Although they are typically more expensive than the other technologies due to limited acceptance in the mainstream, they are better for the environment than CFLs and emit far less EMF pollution.