Gee, ya think? Proof of what many have said for years

From Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

Mercury vapor released from broken compact fluorescent light bulbs can exceed safe exposure levels

Environmental Engineering Science is an authoritative interdisciplinary journal publishing state-of-the-art studies of innovative solutions to problems in air, water, and land contamination and waste disposal. For more information, please visit http://www.liebertpub.com/ees. Credit: © 2011, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, July, 6, 2011—Once broken, a compact fluorescent light bulb continuously releases mercury vapor into the air for weeks to months, and the total amount can exceed safe human exposure levels in a poorly ventilated room, according to study results reported in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed online only journal published monthly by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com). The article is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/ees

The amount of liquid mercury (Hg) that leaches from a broken compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is lower than the level allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so CFLs are not considered hazardous waste. However, Yadong Li and Li Jin, Jackson State University (Jackson, MS) report that the total amount of Hg vapor released from a broken CFL over time can be higher than the amount considered safe for human exposure.

They document their findings in the article “Environmental Release of Mercury from Broken Compact Fluorescent Lamps.”

As people can readily inhale vapor-phase mercury, the authors suggest rapid removal of broken CFLs and adequate ventilation, as well as suitable packaging to minimize the risk of breakage of CFLs and to retain Hg vapor if they do break, thereby limiting human exposure.

Tests of eight different brands of CFLs and four different wattages revealed that Hg content varies significantly from brand to brand. To determine the amount of Hg released by a broken CFL, Li and Jin used standard procedures developed by the EPA to measure leaching of mercury in liquids and used an emission monitoring system to detect Hg vapor.

“This paper is a very nice holistic analysis of potential risks associated with mercury release from broken CFLs and points to potential human health threats that have not always been considered,” according to Domenico Grasso, PhD, Editor-in-Chief and Vice President for Research, Dean of the Graduate College, University of Vermont (Burlington).

###

Environmental Engineering Science is an authoritative interdisciplinary journal publishing state-of-the-art studies of innovative solutions to problems in air, water, and land contamination and waste disposal. It features applications of environmental engineering and scientific discoveries, policy issues, environmental economics, and sustainable development. Complete tables of content and a free sample issue may be viewed online at www.liebertpub.com/ees

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Sustainability: The Journal of Record, Environmental Justice, and Industrial Biotechnology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 60 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at www.liebertpub.com

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58 Responses to Gee, ya think? Proof of what many have said for years

  1. Well, if you are one of those ecoloons that wish to depopulate Gaia to post ice-age levels, CFLs make a sort of sense. No pressure, mind you.

  2. Tom E. says:

    Sad, I failed to use my best digression and jumped into the CFL pool. My wife and I have not done a lot, but we have done enough to cut down our summer time electricity bill from well over $400/month, to sub $300. Not terrible for a ~2500 sq-ft house in N. Texas.

    But part of savings came from CFL’s. My children’s rooms no longer have them, as any lamps that could get readily knocked over. This started after I knocked over box containing an extra CFL and it broke. Even worse, in the closed that is now my daughter’s. Needless to say, before she moved in, the carpet has been replaced. And the windows at that corner of the house where open for a day with fans running.

    Anyway, so now I’ve jumped into LED lighting, finding the Phillips 40W and 60W lights at HomeDepot my solution of choice (for dimming and color).

    Hey, its only $$$$$$$

    Now, I am trying to figure out what I am going to do with the working CFL’s I am taking out of service. I am thinking about just putting the box on the break room table at work……..

  3. Gary Swift says:

    Geeez, gotta love google ads. There’s an ad for CFL’s on my page, right under the article saying that they might be dangerous if handled poorly. That’s irony.

    I love being a South Carolina resident. We refused that stupid federal ID thing. We don’t do vehicle emission testing. We’re right to work. And… we’re working on a law that will allow us to continue to manufacture and use incandescent lightbulbs after Federal law bans them everywhere else. So, while the rest of you are going blind from poorly lighted rooms and breathing dangerous mercury vapors, I’ll be basking in the glory of my 100 watt-ers. I should send one to Obama every year for christmas or something. Then he can have at least one room of the whitehouse that’s well-lit.

  4. Steve Maley says:

    “GE, ya think?” FIFY

  5. Bill Davis says:

    This whole “what’s caused by global warming” is getting out of hand. What we need is a “What is not caused by AWG” list. Undoubtedly be a much shorter list and easier to manage.

  6. JohnWho says:

    If accurate, this information should recieve the widest possible dissemination, but will it?

    Will the folks who ranted incessantly over the evils of incandescent lights while extolling the virtues of CFLs now recant?

    Will they realize that the “consensus” in this regrard wasn’t exactly correct?

    Will a light go off in their dimly lit brains?

  7. The Empryss says:

    This is insane! They’re trying to kill us all!!!

  8. dave ward says:

    It’s funny that no one seems to have bothered about mercury leaking from broken fluorescent tubes (the conventional sort) all these years…

  9. Jay says:

    I “recycled” a CFL at the local Home Depot store.
    I think other large US home improvement stores like Menards will also take them.

    If they want to sell them, they need to take them when they burn out.
    I double bagged it in a zip-lock bag, and put it in a cardboard box to avoid breakage.

  10. Tom E. says:

    Dave,
    It’s funny that no one seems to have bothered about mercury leaking from broken fluorescent tubes (the conventional sort) all these years…

    Personally, I see it as risk exposure. I have 6 fixtures in the house that use fluorescent tubes. Very hard to accidentally break the tubes in the fixtures, and changing the tubes is a controlled exercise done by me.

    The CFLs on the other hand are in simple light fixtures on desks, tables, floor lamps and the like.

    And some of those fixtures will also get replaced as time goes on, in favor of new LEDs lighting of course. I still like the idea of reducing electrical use for lighting, and the reduced heat load for the A/C.

    As with all things, YMMV.

  11. Tom E. says: July 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm: Now, I am trying to figure out what I am going to do with the working CFL’s I am taking out of service. I am thinking about just putting the box on the break room table at work…

    You might consider boxing them up and mailing them to your congresscritter. I’m sure that the Post Awful’s carefully handling will ensure they arrive intact.

  12. Ric Werme says:

    “This paper is a very nice holistic analysis of potential risks associated with mercury release from broken CFLs and points to potential human health threats that have not always been considered,”

    There’s an assumption here that one or more of the following is true:

    1) Elemental mercury is hazardous in small doses and we’re all going to die.

    2) Mercury vapor turns into Methylmercury (like by reacting with residents’ flatulence?) which is better documented to be dangerous and we’re all going to die.

    3) Mercury vapor turns into Dimethylmercury (double the flatulence?) in which case you died already. Nasty, nasty stuff.

    It would seem to me that a “holistic analysis” would describe actual risks instead of potential risks.

    More seriously, while elemental mercury is indeed toxic, you need prolonged exposure to small concentrations or briefer exposure to high concentrations.

    Thomas Edison’s staff did have problems due to a “mercury pump” used to evacuate early lightbulbs. Near as I can figure it entailed pouring a container of mercury at the top of some plumbing, and catching it at the bottom, and doing so repeatedly until they had a decent vacuum. They must’ve had mercury splashed everywhere.

    Ever tried chasing a mercury spill? Blobs break up into smaller blobs and they all roll away, squeezing through tiny holes which often create minuscule blobs. Frustrating! That was back in the 50s and 60s and yep, I’m gonna die. But not from mercury.

  13. Ric Werme says:

    dave ward says:
    July 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    > It’s funny that no one seems to have bothered about mercury leaking from broken fluorescent tubes (the conventional sort) all these years…

    Fluorescent bulbs tend to have a rather consistent life and when a few start to die, there’s a good chance the rest will also. So in commercial settings people tend to replace a whole building’s worth at once. At CMU I saw a workman (outside, probably a good thing), feeding bulb after bulb into a device designed to grind them into a dense bag of glass fragments and phosphor. And a little mercury….

  14. John S. says:

    Is it so hard to put a clear shrink wrap sleeve over a CFL bulb at the factory?

  15. joe Matais says:

    dave ward says:
    July 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm
    It’s funny that no one seems to have bothered about mercury leaking from broken fluorescent tubes (the conventional sort) all these years…
    Funny how the government did not require you to use them…

  16. Dr. Dave says:

    dave ward says:
    July 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    It’s funny that no one seems to have bothered about mercury leaking from broken fluorescent tubes (the conventional sort) all these years…
    _______________________________________________________________________________
    Exactly! Go to any government building, any school, almost any store and look up. You’ll see fluorescent tubes glowing – each of which contains more mercury than a CFL. There’s lots of reasons to hate CFLs, but their mercury threat is way down the list. CFLs typically contain between 4 and 6 mg of elemental mercury. Upon breakage most of the mercury contained in the bulb adheres to the phosphor lining of the tube. Relatively little escapes as mercury vapor. You sweep it up and dispose of it and your threat of mercury exposure is almost nil.

    The really toxic forms of mercury are organic mercury compounds (e.g. methylmercury). I actually researched this at length once. The average American consumes more methylmercury from their annual consumption of fish (especially tuna) than would be reasonably expected from a broken CFL. The EPA can’t backpeddle on their position on mercury. It would unravel decades of regulations and lawsuits they have worked on to vilify mercury so they are stuck supporting the ridiculous “hazmat” cleanup of a briken CFL. SPPI has an excellent series of articles of environmental mercury and the real hazards. I realize it’s fun to turn the eco-geeks’ own tactics on them, but I fear we come off foolish by doing so. The annoying RFI that CFLs produce and their inherent fire hazard are much better reasons to rail against them than a few mgs og Hg.

  17. Nuke says:

    Not to worry because the EPA is going to stop mercury emissions from by regulating coal-fueled power plants out of existence, so it will all balance out.

    Of course, without plentiful and affordable electricity, you won’t need to buy so many CFL bulbs, so you’re really coming out ahead.

  18. starzmom says:

    If you live in New York, you can take them to a recycling or collection center, which is open 4 days per month. You must bring a government issued ID to dispose of the light bulbs. Not to vote, mind you, but to dispose of light bulbs.

  19. Nuke says:

    Anybody have a guess about how many CFLs people just toss in the trash when they quit working?

  20. Sam Hall says:

    I just got another 48 ea 100 watt bulbs. I have CFLs in places where it makes sense, but most of the lights are not. When LEDs get brighter and cheaper, I will probably change.

  21. Jenn Oates says:

    Call me crazy, but I like my light bulbs to produce actual light–at least more than the average one year old’s birthday cake.

    And I loathe the fluorescents in my classroom. If one happens to break we have to get a hazmat in to clean it up, which might not be the best use of a cash-strapped school district’s resources.

  22. Climate Nonconformist says:

    Is this why warmists are so crazy? They’ve gotten high on mercury?

  23. Jeff Alberts says:

    Nuke says:
    July 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Anybody have a guess about how many CFLs people just toss in the trash when they quit working?

    So far I’ve never had any quit working. The oldest one I’ve got going is on my porch, for at least 8 years.

  24. I was at a family reunion this past weekend and delivered this shocking news to some of the relatives, but people really don’t know about this. And the sad part about it is this sector of my family is better educated than many university faculties.

  25. Retired Engineer says:

    CFL’s suck not because they are CFL’s, but because of the place of origin. My very old Sylvania’s, made in the US of A, worked as advertised. No flicker, instant on, bright, clean light. And died exactly on schedule (per the carton). Alas, no longer made. The crap at Home Depot comes from the folks across the big pond. With big problems. LED’s will be great if the price comes out of the stratosphere.

    Now for the heretic view:
    Back in the stone age, in science classes, we used liquid mecury. (gasp!) Made barometers, manometers, floated pieces of iron, coated dimes (when they really had silver in them), even touched the stuff. What happened to all us brain damaged types? Well, we invented the personal computer, cell phone, GPS, flat screen displays (mostly using ccfl’s), iPhones,Pods,Pads, video games and the Internet (oops, Al Gore did that one). And what became of the more intelligent types who shunned science and avoided all that toxic Hg? They became lawyers, politicians, and Community Organizers.

  26. Ed Barbar says:

    Gee, my CFLs are breaking all the time. Not the glass, though that sometimes too. Too many young boys, doing things in the house they should not.

    We did, however, replace our kitchen lights with LED lights. They are way too expensive, but the light is really bright and nice.

  27. Duncan says:

    Get hard use incandescents from a proper electrical wholesaler. Because they are for inspection lamps etc that get thrown around they last ages but cost a few pence more. Seem to be exempt from stupid market manipulating laws in the uk.

  28. James Sexton says:

    I think a few are missing the point about the threat of CFL vs fluorescent.

    Here’s the deal. Fluroescents are typically used in a very controlled environment compared to CFLs. As pointed out earlier, they are typically changed by experienced individuals and disposal routines and regs are known. Compare this to typical households. The CFLs will be changed by the taller person in the house. In my case, that would be my 6ft.+ teenager. Guess what? He doesn’t care about mercury. He’s not familiar with disposal routines. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not worried about the mercury itself, but it will find its way to the land and water via ordinary trash and rubbish. Because that’s where the majority of the CFLs will end up. They won’t be boxed or double bagged or anything. They go right in the trash bin. Then it will leach into the ground and water system. Then we’ll have even more environmental alarm.

    Laws will be passed. Expensive and unnecessary clean-up will commence. Any company stupid enough to open a production plant in the U.S. will be closed. Jobs will be lost. Retail units will take an inventory hit. You and I will pay for all of the above.

    Why will this occur? Because of our complacent tolerance of the entirely vapid yet well meaning morons(manipulate by not-so-well-meaning people) that seek to show us a better way of living…….. collectively, of course. I truly hope someone is writing the BS down for posterity. Future generations will be gobsmacked(and laugh at us) about how a very small insipidly vapid, yet vocal group of people were allowed to dictate the populous to engage in various act of stupidity……….. this just being one of the finer examples. How long will the general populous allow these people such authority over their everyday lives? How long will the general populous remain as sheep? For Perpetuity? And to think this occurred in a land that once boasted liberty above all else. PPHHHFFFFTTTT.

  29. rbateman says:

    According to the nice MSHA inspectors who visited our mine site every quarter, cleaning up Mercury is one tough job. Actually, if one even bothered to read the warnings on the box the miserable things come in… not to mention they look as fragile as they really are…
    Mercury very bad for nervous system and internal organs.
    Mad as a hatter it can make you.
    Edison very smart man, make light bulb that humans can live with.

  30. LazyTeenager says:

    Who leaves a broken CFL lying about in a closed room?
    Everyone on the entire planet cleans up the broken class and disposes of it.

    And when a standard fluorescent tube with it’s much larger mercury content is broken it is also disposed of quickly.

    Nothing to fear here given the obvious countermeasures.

  31. Will Hudson says:

    Last year, I was sent a box of four CFLs, free of charge, by my electricity supplier. They arrived by post, and on opening the package, I found one broken, and two non-working. I didn’t take a chance with the remaining one, and sent the whole package back to the supplier, with a note declining any replacements. I hate the things.

  32. John Trigge says:

    In the Oz Navy we had copious instructions for the cleaning up of broken fluorescent lamps that required us to treat them as radioactive sources. Ever tried to pick up small pieces of glass while wearing very thick, non-flexible rubber gloves?

  33. Rational Debate says:

    Let’s not forget that a “poorly ventilated room” = “a green well insulated room.” The two are one and the same. It’s intriguing how, according to those hot on ‘green’ or ‘environmentally friendly’ or ‘AGW’ or what-have-you along these lines, according to those sorts whenever being well insulated is a “good” thing that saves energy then the space is described as “well insulated” or “efficient” or similar positive terms. That very same space, when the discussion involves a negative, is suddenly “poorly ventilated.” Sheesh.

    Plus, how quickly do all energy savings vanish if whenever a CFL is broken one has to open windows and doors for a few hours of “ventilation,” quite possibly with the addition of a fan to enhance ‘ventilation’ – and the temperatures outside happen to be either very cold or very hot? Or for that matter even just moderately warm or cool?

  34. Ric Werme says:

    Retired Engineer says:
    July 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Now for the heretic view:
    Back in the stone age, in science classes, we used liquid mercury. (gasp!) Made barometers, manometers, floated pieces of iron, coated dimes (when they really had silver in them), even touched the stuff. What happened to all us brain damaged types? Well, we invented the personal computer, cell phone, GPS, flat screen displays (mostly using ccfl’s), iPhones,Pods,Pads, video games and the Internet (oops, Al Gore did that one). And what became of the more intelligent types who shunned science and avoided all that toxic Hg? They became lawyers, politicians, and Community Organizers.

    Dang, that’s what I shoulda said, very good.

    At least I did help help build the Arpanet, the predecessor to the Internet. Of course, one of those pieces was Email, sorry about how that turned out.

    Thunder storms here – we lost power for the second time this evening. I never would have imagined I’d be on a network thanks to my laptop and an Uninterruptable Power supply that is powering the cable modem and other infrastructure. I did turn off my main computer for more modem time….

  35. DonS says:

    Let’s see. The amount of mercury spilled from a broken CFL is below acceptable exposure amounts, or some such EPA bureaucratese. But, spilled milk on a dairy farm is toxic?

  36. Jimbo says:

    Where is Greenpeace? Where is Friends of the Earth?

  37. JDN says:

    Are there more global warming refugees than CFL mercury victims? The world may never know. Seriously, the mercury scare is alarmist BS. Most of you have elevated inorganic mercury from amalgam fillings. I know I do. We are remarkably tolerant to inorganic mercury. Unless you can point to the bodies of the victims of broken CFLs, then what you have is alarmism and uncecessary regulations. Sorry to see this on WUWT. Try reading this physician’s opinion piece and realize how much inorganic mercury people were exposed to in the recent past in order to produce real toxicity: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1070962/

  38. NikFromNYC says:

    So much for any more “eating a light bulb” stunts on YouTube.

  39. RoHa says:

    We are so doomed!

  40. JohnWho says:

    Question:

    “How many “Greenies” does it take to change a CFL?”

    Answer:

    No one knows – they are so busy saving the world they don’t realize they are in the dark.

    or

    at least two – one to unscrew the CFL and one to decide whether to dispose of it in either “paper or plastic”.

    or

    one to hold the ladder, one to climb the ladder and unscrew the CFL bulb, one to call the local Hazardous Material Waste Disposal Unit, one each at every entrance to the room to prevent anyone from entering the potentially hazordous area, and, of course, one to photograph the proceedings to document it for their website.

    or…

  41. Common Sense says:

    Knock on wood, but we’ve been using CFLs in the many can lights in our house and have never had a breakage or any other incident. Every one of them has lasted at least 8 years, even in the kitchen and bathrooms.

    That said, I also have some vintage lamps that only take low-wattage incandescent bulbs.

    Regardless, the government has no business telling me what kind of light bulbs or appliances or toilets to buy.

  42. Jake says:

    Yeah, don’t like CFL. See the new CRT bulbs, though? Just as efficient, better light. The downside is the light emitting part has to have a larger base, so the light bulb ends up being pretty large.

  43. Noelene says:

    Mercury poisoning
    from Wikipedia
    Consumption of whale and dolphin meat, as is the practice in Japan, is a source of high levels of mercury poisoning. Tetsuya Endo, a professor at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, has tested whale meat purchased in the whaling town of Taiji and found mercury levels that are more than 20 times acceptable Japanese standards(haha from me)
    Mercury and its compounds are particularly toxic to fetuses and infants. Women who have been exposed to mercury in pregnancy have sometimes given birth to children with serious birth defects(very worrying from me)
    In humans, approximately 80% of inhaled mercury vapor is absorbed via the respiratory tract where it enters the circulatory system and is distributed throughout the body.[17] Chronic exposure by inhalation, even at low concentrations in the range 0.7–42 μg/m3, has been shown in case control studies to cause effects such as tremors, impaired cognitive skills, and sleep disturbance in workers.[18][19]

  44. Gayle says:

    Jeff Albers: So far I’ve never had any quit working. The oldest one I’ve got going is on my porch, for at least 8 years.
    I think you’re the exception then! That’s one of my main beefs with the things. They do not last anywhere near the time they are touted to last. I’ve had to replace many of them much, much earlier than the end of their projected lifetime.

  45. James Sexton says:

    Gayle says:
    July 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Jeff Albers: So far I’ve never had any quit working. The oldest one I’ve got going is on my porch, for at least 8 years.
    I think you’re the exception then! That’s one of my main beefs with the things. They do not last anywhere near the time they are touted to last. I’ve had to replace many of them much, much earlier than the end of their projected lifetime.
    ========================================================
    Wait for the lifetime guarantee of LEDs!!!

  46. Ralph says:

    What could go wrong?

    [mod: these are pics of CFLs]

  47. Chris Edwards says:

    The expression “mad as a hatter” refers to the effect of breathing mercury fumes by those engaged in making felt hats in victorian times, could this be what has happened to Gore and his church followers?

  48. Rational Debate says:

    re post by: JohnWho says: July 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Oh lordy. You remind me of a couple of very old & very non-PC light bulb joke & now I can’t resist.

    Q: How many men does it take to change a light bulb? There are two possible correct and utterly non-PC answers to this one, as follows:

    A: Option 1. None. Real Men aren’t afraid of the dark.

    A: Option 2. None. A Real Man makes his wife change it.

    Note: Upon being addressed by hubby with Option 2, said wife simply smiles sweetly and replies with Option 1 of course. {VBG}

    Option 1 is from the days of “real men” jokes, & option two was my own contribution to the genre back then ;0) It was just too tempting to add a Macho twist to the Real Man version, along with the Real Woman reply to match it.)

    Q: How many -pick your non-pc group who’s intelligence you wish to deride & insert here- does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Five. One to climb the ladder, one to pass up new light bulb and take possession of the old, and three to turn the ladder.

    Do I need to beg forgiveness now? Or just don flame suit?

  49. Steve C says:

    We never had this trouble with tungsten vapour in the Good Old Days.

  50. ks1776 says:

    What about the “poison cloud” emitted by CFLs? Did anyone confirm that report?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/8462626/Energy-saving-light-bulbs-contain-cancer-causing-chemicals.html

  51. Dr Who says:

    So if I have your own description correct, if you are clumsy enough to break a CFL and then lazy enough to leave it laying around in an enclosed room for weeks, mercury levels may exceed safe minimum for humans.

  52. Tired of Bleating Sheeple says:

    I have an unreasonable and unwitting response to all things and so after breaking a single CFL in my home I immediately called 911 to report it, but unwilling to trust “Big Gub’mint” to satisfactorily deal with the impending environmental crisis caused by that Evil Mercury, I then poured gasoline over the breakage area and burned the house to the ground.

    After the FD put out the fire, I called on a priest to perform an exorcism; after this was complete we sacrificed a fatted calf on the ashes and sprinkled the area with salt, which was then blessed by the most Holy Al Gore Himself.

    Next week the containment vessel with 3 foot thick concrete walls will entomb the area for 1000 years.
    *****************************************************************
    Really folks, a lot of you read like your cousins on the AGW alarmists page- all fear mongering, vindictive spew.

    I don’t care for the color rendition myself in some of the early models, but I’ve had (in three years) only one fail in service, and since I live in Houston, where it’s already hot as hell, I find the living room noticeably cooler because of the reduction of 300 watts of heat output by the former incandescent bulbs.

    So far, no progeny have appeared with either two heads or a moron level IQ.

  53. A G Foster says:

    In the past two decades two local building evacuations have taken place due mercury. In one case a junior high school was let out when a student brought liquid Hg. In another, the federal building was evacuated. Clearly in the case of the school the students were placed in far more precarious circumstances than they faced by a little liquid Hg.

    It’s like the pool evacuations during a thunderstorm: nobody was ever killed by lightning while in a swimmming pool (one case of injury however).

    And the Great Salt Lake is feared for its 90ppb methyl mercury, which the ex-governor once blamed on Chinese air pollution. If coal were the cause, we would expect similar “contamination” in Utah Lake or even Bear Lake, but none is seen. Pollution from the copper mine is a slight possibility, but the most likely cause for this Hg is natural: the lake has been concentrating minerals for thousands of years, and being shallow and muddy, it is able to convert inorganic Hg to the organic sort. Lake Eyre, in Australia, and in a rather pristine setting, has ten times the Hg concentration of the Great Salt Lake, probably entirely natural.

    My experience? Between 10 and 20% of the bulbs don’t work, and the majority burn out within a year or two. But true, we don’t need extra heat in the summer. If everyone would turn off their computers in the summertime a whole lot of energy could be saved, but I never hear this advertised. Bill Gates’ Microsoft’s inefficient computers are a major source of wasted energy. And where I live, cold air returns are placed low for heating conditions, unsuitable for AC operation.

    And the doctors don’t worry at all about the mercury in the vaccinations, which is probably higher than what you get from a broken bulb, which will be vacuumed, with fumes spread around the house or school, which would be evacuated because of liquid Hg of low volatility. The world really is crazy–hatters included. –AGF

  54. Some European says:

    It’s good to read from people on the right who want to stand up to the danger of mercury pollution, unlike corporate shills like W.Soon, who recently posed as a ‘mercury expert’ to downplay the risks of mercury pollution from coal mining in a NYT op-ed. Keep up the good work, Anthony!

  55. TonyG says:

    So does that mercury vapor ever condense into liquid?

  56. joe says:

    i don’t mind the CFL’s and don’t think i’ve ever unintentionally broken any kind of light bulb….if anyone was worried about that then recessed lighting would help except for removal/replacement…i think the real problem is disposal and i’m wondering why the recycling centers that take aluminum cans, bottles etc for CRV aren’t also made to take all kinds of batteries and old electronics and CFL’s as well and then reimbursed by local or state gov’t…that would keep a lot of toxic materials out of the landfill….

    am eagerly awaiting affordable LED lighting though…

  57. _Jim says:

    dave ward says July 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    It’s funny that no one seems to have bothered about mercury leaking from broken fluorescent tubes (the conventional sort) all these years…

    Do you have those overhead in the living room?

    Don’t you find that kind of lighting a tad bit harsh … prolly works wonders for a ‘grow operation’ though … ;)

    /sarc (The point being CFLs are used in residential/home/human-living-quarters areas, esp. w/kids and pets. Yes, pets too. BTW, I was a BIG user of Circline fluorescent fixturing in some lamps BEFORE the big kick for CFLs took off!!!!!!!)

    From wiki:

    Fluorescent lamps have much higher efficacy than filament lamps. For the same amount of light generated, they typically use around one-quarter to one-third the power of an incandescent.

    Fluorescents were mostly limited to linear and a round ‘Circline’ lamp until the 1980s, with other shapes never gaining much popularity. The compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) was commercialized in the early 1980s.

    .

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