Monday, April 30, 2007

The $2000 light bulb

California is on the verge of mandating the elimination of incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

But the new light bulbs contain mercury, a hazardous substance. Read this story about how one person tried to behave responsibly and the bulb ended up costing over $2000.

When I first read this, I thought "someone is trying to make a point. Why not just clean it up yourself?"

Then I read the line that said "The [cleanup] specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination."

SIX TIMES the safe level? From breaking one bulb?

I think I'll stick with incandescent bulbs. (Yes, I'm still procrastinating)

2 comments:

David said...

The EnergyStar.gov website has a great PDF file here about Mercury and compact fluorescent bulbs. One interesting point it makes (and that I've seen from several other sources) is that CFL's actually put less Mercury into the environment than incandescent bulbs because they use less power (coal burning power plants cause a lot of Mercury pollution).

Randy Barnett said...

But if you break a bulb, your room is a hazardous waste site?

At least with incandescent bulbs, the mercury is somewhere else. In theory, it could be contained there.