Shortly after Al Gore debuted An Inconvenient Truth the general public started giving a damn about climate change — at least superficially. First, the case for CFLs: Compact fluorescent light bulbs use around 75% less energy and last 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs. Mercury from energy production and broken CFL bulbs seeps into soil and water and usually ends up in the bodies of fish. For these reasons many governments and retailers are offing CFL recycling programs that safely handle the mercury instead of letting it build up in landfills.
Aside from the problems associated with mercury and recycling it seems as if the push for CFLs came at a time when we needed a quick fix–not a long term solution. In this case, there are at least a few more efficient, mercury-free lighting alternatives slowly creeping into the market.
Please note that gratuitous links to your site are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. Rob: I had posted a response to you in which I told you about another lighting technology, ESL, but for some reason it didn't show up. Ron: I mentioned this in an earlier post, there is new lighting being produced by a company called Vu1.
A couple of guys were so enthralled with the technology they decided to build a website focusing on ESL technology and other "green" energy-saving issues. I have decided to replace both incandescent AND cfl bulbs with the Halogen variety wherever possible as I understand they do not contain mercury. You see them in every grocery store and home center – those funny-looking curly compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) that are rapidly replacing the old round bulbs.
The energy efficiency of CFLs may be significant, but unlike traditional light bulbs, there is a hidden danger sealed inside each little bulb that requires special handling and disposal. Mercury – a potent, developmental neurotoxin that can damage the brain, liver, kidneys and central nervous system. CFLs are marketed as “safe” and don’t pose any health risks as long as the glass remains intact. So what does that mean if a CFL is cracked or breaks in our homes, releasing mercury vapors in an enclosed area?
Consumers – especially those with young children –need to know what to do when a CFL breaks and the proper way to dispose of used bulbs. Compact fluorescent light-bulbs contain very small amounts of mercury and care must be taken in disposing of them or when they break.
All of this needs to be done to protect people from the tiny amount of mercury in one fluorescent light bulb. Another equally important concern is what happens to the environment – the air, soil and water – when tons of discarded bulbs, along with the mercury, are dumped into local landfills? The threat posed by billions of broken CFLs lying in landfills has resulted in some communities requiring their citizens to discard used and broken CFLs in designated recycling centers or in a hazardous-waste collection facility.
Given the known deleterious effects caused by mercury, it would seem logical to assume there will be some unintended consequences resulting from the switch to compact fluorescent lights. If you are concerned about the possible health risks associated with CFLs, LED or halogen lights are good alternatives. Compact Fluorescent Lamps are designed to fit standard light sockets as an energy-saving alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs. Although CFLs are considered extremely energy efficient, each bulb contains about 5mg “elemental mercury,” says U.S. Electrical sensitivity, also known as electrical hypersensitivity and electromagnet hypersensitivity, is a recognized disability with chronic and systematic reactions to electromagnet fields given off by wiring, electrical equipment, transformers and florescent lighting — including CFLs.
STONY BROOK, NY, July 18, 2012 – Inspired by a European study, a team of Stony Brook University researchers looked into the potential impact of healthy human skin tissue (in vitro) being exposed to ultraviolet rays emitted from compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Two days ago I laid out a long list of problems with compact flourescents, some health related but mostly practical objections, but only touched on the implied health risks of simply turning them on.  This university report makes some startling observations. So are Democrats and spineless Republicans intentionally putting you and your children at risk by mandating them?
Maybe New Hampshire should nullify the law in the Granite State until someone takes a more serious look at the negatives of CFL’s, and then pass a heat ball exception that will allow people to buy the bulb that is safer, creates more light, and is easier to dispose of without long term detriment to people, animals and our state. How about that then Governor Hassan, Speaker Norelli, State Senator Peter ‘King Reggie’ Bragdon?

How about we do what those really cool Europhiles do – return packaging waste to the stores that sell the products – and apply the same m.o. UV or ultraviolet lamps are used in biological safety cabinets, light boxes, and cross linkers in many University laboratories and in some patient care rooms. UV radiation is that radiation just outside the visible range, or under 400 nanometers (nm). Germicidal lamps emit radiation almost exclusively in the far-UV range of 254 nm, and are commonly used in Laminar Air Flow hoods or biological safety cabinets and should be treated with extreme caution.
Adapted from the California Campus Environmental Health & Safety Association Winter 1995 Newsletter What You Should Know About UV Light.
And in a massive wave of effort to show off our new enviro-consciousness, every apartment, townhouse and megamansion from Norway to New Zealand swapped their incandescent light bulbs for more energy efficient CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps. The fact that CFLs can last up to ten times longer is a huge leap in the reduction of packaging and shipping. Animals or people who then eat those fish take on their toxicity, which can cause severe disabilities from stunted neurological development. The US Government continues to mandate ethanol fuel production, despite the fact that most environmentalists and scientists agree its not going to solve our climate problem. OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes), for example, use a fraction of the energy that CFLs do, are more flexible in application, less prone to breaking, and mercury-free.
I also told you about a website, but I forgot to include the web address, thus, the post above.
Just wanted to tell you about another lighting technology called ESL (electron stimulated luminescence) made by a company called Vu1. In a few months they're supposed to come out with and A19, which is the common household lamp bulb. And pretty soon, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 kicks in, requiring bulbs to be 25 to 30 percent more efficient by 2012 to 2014, and 70 percent more efficient by 2020, effectively phasing out traditional incandescent bulbs as a way to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
CFLs have spiraling or elongated U-shaped tubes known as a single-envelope unit; the double-envelope or encapsulated bulbs have the tubes inside a glass bulb. Approximately 8 million Americans experience electrical sensitivities, according to the Research & Training Center on Independent Living. Research at Long Island’s Stony Brook found that the bulbs emit rays so strong that they can actually burn skin and skin cells.
One of the problems in working with UV radiation is that the symptoms of overexposure are not immediately felt so that persons exposed do not realize the hazard until after the damage is done. Severe skin burns can happen in a very short time, especially under your chin (where most people forget to cover). Watt for watt, there’s no question whether or not CFLs save energy as compared to their predecessors.
These benefits have led plenty of countries including Australia and Ireland to ban incandescents altogether. It has also been speculated that high mercury rates can cause cancer, though we’ll need a few more years of increasing exposure to know for sure.
Young designers, scientists and engineers are regularly coming up with better ways to light our lives and they need all the support they can get. They just penned a deal with Lowes and their bulbs will be showing up on store shelves sometime in February.
Right now they only offer one type of bulb, an R30 reflector bulb used primarily for recessed or canned lighting. But still, I don't know if LEDs have reached the point where they are widely available or relatively cheap. Personally, I'm looking forward to the new ESL bulbs being produced by a company called Vu1.
Even at low levels, mercury is capable of causing a number of health problems including impair motor functioning, cognitive ability and emotional problems.
Although it sounds like a miniscule amount – 4 to 5 milligrams – there is enough mercury in just one fluorescent light bulb to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water. Consumers should be aware of dangers associated with CFL bulbs before bringing the units into the home, school or workplace.
It causes nervous system symptoms such as headache, fatigue, stress and sleep disturbances; skin symptoms including prickling, burning sensations and rashes, and pain and ache to muscles, as well as many other health problems.

However, the UV light levels around some UV equipment greatly exceeds the levels found in nature.
The danger to the eye is enhanced by the fact that light can enter from all angles around the eye and not only in the direction you are looking. Full-face shields are really the only appropriate protection when working with UV light boxes for more than a few seconds. But with the concerns of toxic mercury and the recent developments in LED technology, CFLs may not be the smartest choice for long-term sustainability. Retailers around the world have jumped on board, but when places like Wal-Mart started hocking CFLs like candy before Halloween they didn’t warn customers about mercury poisoning.
I find it very unlikely that a person who throws away an empty water bottle will suddenly decide to drive to Home Depot to recycle an old CFL.
But before throwing everyone on the bandwagon it’s important to assess the potential harm and keep an eye on more effective emerging technologies. Until those two things are met, I feel that CFLs are still a pretty good option, despite the mercury issues. They are energy efficient, have a higher power factor than either LEDs or CFLs, and contain no toxic materials.
General Electric, a manufacturer of CFL bulbs, notes the amount equivalent to the tip of a ballpoint pen. Most of the EMF fields experienced every day and emitted from CFL bulbs are non-ionizing radiation and considered safe. Both website are dedicated to educating and informing people with articles on powerful and concealed information from around the world. Most of these instruments are stationary, but there are a few hand held types that carry the same hazards as the stationary models. The lens can also be damaged, but since the cornea acts as a filter, the chances are reduced.
And I'm not being callous; I bet there are places and way to recycle them so they don't leech into soil and water. GE further claims the mercury is an “essential, irreplaceable element” that allows the bulb to perform as an efficient light source, posing no danger during regular use. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency tested CFLs from various manufacturers. However, for people with electrical sensitivity, CFL bulbs have significant accumulative dangers, according to ElectroSensitivity UK News. I have spent the last 36+ years researching Bible, History, Alternative Health, Secret Societies, Symbolism and many other topics that are not reported by mainstream media. Nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) which has been stained with the chemical Ethidium Bromide, lights up when exposed to UV light. This should not lessen the concern over lens damage however, because cataracts are the direct result of lens damage. And we do have the technology AND responsibility to topple the CFL with a light that is more energy efficient, non-toxic, and easier to recycle. Elemental mercury is a bioaccumulative neurotoxin that effects multiple neurological responses. With the exception of people with photosensitive medical conditions, such as lupus, ARPANSA noted that CFLs are suitable for use at distances beyond 10 inches.
However, when using desktop and other close lamps, it’s advisable to utilize double-envelope or encapsulated bulbs.
In addition, mercury accumulates in the environment, vaporizing into the air and leaching into water supplies. The long-term risk for large cumulative exposure includes premature aging of the skin and even skin cancer.

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