Shining a Light on Toxic Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are a new type of energy efficient light bulb designed to replace traditional incandescent bulbs. While these new bulbs are supposed to be more environmentally friendly by using less energy, CFLs also contain mercury which poses serious health risks when the bulbs are broken.
In addition, CFLs emit a small amount of UV radiation which may be an issue for sensitive people, such as those with certain types light-sensitive conditions. The UK Health Protection Agency reports that at 12 inches or closer, there are measurable levels of UV radiation being emitted from a single CFL bulb.
A report from Jackson State University presented a detailed analysis of the release of mercury vapors from CFLs. Results showed that the mercury content varied with brand, but that all CFLs continuously release mercury vapors once they are broken. Broken bulbs continued to release mercury 10 weeks after breakage.
In fact, the total amount of mercury vapor released from a broken CFL bulb can exceed the safe human exposure limit.
Safe Handling of CFL Bulbs
Since mercury vapor can be easily inhaled by people, rapid removal of broken CFLs and sufficient ventilation are critical protective measures. The EPA recommends wearing rubber gloves, ventilating the room and restricting access for 5-10 minutes before cleaning up. Other precautions are advised as well. Click here for detailed cleanup instructions from the EPA website.
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Now that’s a bright idea!
I was asking if LED light have a bad impact as the CFL?
Would proper disposal of these CFL bulbs mitigate the problem? I hate to forego them and use incandescent bulbs since the latter use a lot more electricity which exacerbates global warming, a much bigger health threat than the CFL’s .
I had one of those compact fluorescent light bulbs in a lighted lamp on a table next to me as I was reading. Suddenly the bulb exploded sending small fragments of glass everywhere and cutting my cheek. I don’t know of anything “safe” about these bulbs.
I really believe that Thomas Edison – the Person who invented the Incandescent Light Bulb >
Really was inspired by the Holy Spirit – to Bring This Light into the world !
Back in the 70’s I Sold Industrial Light Bulbs and Florescent Tube’s in 3 States ! and they had some very grat idea for Light’s that didn’t hurt the eyes ? the regular cool white tubes were hard on the eyes. and so they came up with a Tube called ‘SEE EASY ” . it had a soft green light – and for office’s it was the very best light.
I sold some Outside Incandescent -with a clear plastic covering – so the weather would not break them!? To the State of Utah – ( there were 35 bulbs to cover that huge star)
TO – ILLUMINATE THE STAR ON ON THE CAPITOL DOME . THEY WORKED SO WELL THAT THEY LASTED AND LASTED – AND THEY WERE USED FOR SEVERAL YEARS !
And it is true that theses New Twisted Florescent – Last alot longer than a Regular Incandescent Bulb. bur Your Article has another Great Big Reason – to go back to the Light that Thomas A Edison invented !
Alfred ‘Al’ Cordon
Former Salesman for the
VERDARAY LIGHT COMPANY
I’d like to share, not “like” your article on the toxic light bulb emissions. I have a friend with light sensitivity –so much so that she is considered disabled…unable to be in the sun for any period of time, and can’t deal with fluorescent-type light.
Thank you for the feedback. We will look into that option for the future.
At this point, you may always copy the URL link and post it in a comment or message on social media, even email.
Have a great week!
What a specialized field Alfred! Thank you for sharing your story.
Sometimes we get so caught up in ingenuity that we forget we don’t need to fix what isn’t broken. Just make sure we turn off those lights when we leave a room.
Hi Craig, Since mercury vapor can be easily inhaled by people, rapid removal of broken CFLs and sufficient ventilation are critical protective measures. The EPA recommends wearing rubber gloves, ventilating the room and restricting access for 5-10 minutes before cleaning up. Other precautions are advised as well. Click here for detailed cleanup instructions from the EPA website.