Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's better for the environment but what about you?

James has a similar post but just cannot let this one rest. I'm pretty mad about this and really don't understand. We are all pushed to buy these new environmentally friendly light sources. The EPA says, "Making this change will help to use less electricity at home and prevent greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global climate change." and, "If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, in one
year it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes. That would prevent the release of greenhouse gas emissions equal to that of about 800,000 cars."

BUT IF YOU BREAK ONE!!! is what is necessary to clean it up.....(the bold is my emphasis----if you don't read all of it at least read the bold, you'll really get the idea.)

Appendix E: Revised Cleanup Guidance
Page 1 of 1
What if I accidentally break a fluorescent lamp in my home?
The lamp contains a small amount of mercury, but you can clean this up
yourself if you do the following:

• Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the breakage. This will spread the mercury vapor and dust throughout the area and could potentially contaminate the vacuum.
Keep people and pets away from the breakage area until the cleanup is complete.
Ventilate the area by opening windows, and leave the area for 15 minutes before returning to begin the cleanup. Mercury vapor levels will be lower by then.
• For maximum protection and if you have them, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the sharp glass.
• Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container, preferably a
glass container with a metal screw top lid and seal like a canning jar. A glass jar with a good seal works best to contain any mercury vapors inside.
• Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust. You can use two stiff pieces of paper such
as index cards or playing cards to scoop up pieces.
• Pat the area with the sticky side of duct tape, packing tape or masking tape to pick up fine
particles. Wipe the area with a wet wipe or damp paper towel to pick up even finer particles.
• Put all waste and materials into the glass container, including all material used in the cleanup
that may have been contaminated with mercury. Label the container as “Universal Waste - broken lamp.”
• Remove the container with the breakage and cleanup materials from your home. This is
particularly important if you do not have a glass container.
Continue ventilating the room for several hours.
Wash your hands and face.
When a break happens on carpeting, homeowners may consider removing throw rugs or the area of carpet where the breakage occurred as a precaution, particularly if the rug is in an area frequented by infants, small children or pregnant women.
• Finally, if the carpet is not removed, open the window to the room during the next several
times you vacuum the carpet to provide good ventilation.
The next time you replace a lamp, consider putting a drop cloth on the floor so that any accidental breakage can be easily cleaned up. If consumers remain concerned regarding safety, they may consider not utilizing fluorescent lamps in situations where they could easily be broken. Consumers may also consider avoiding CFL usage in bedrooms or carpeted areas frequented by infants, small children, or pregnant women. Finally, consider not storing too many used/spent lamps before recycling as that may increase your chances of breakage. Don’t forget to properly recycle your used fluorescent bulbs so they don’t break and put mercury into our environment.

Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture, or is it just me?

By the way, in our situation just a small tip of the bulb broke off and was easily cleaned up but this happened in the boys' play room. So this afternoon, about 18 hours later(the boys were not allowed in this room at all during this time), I went to clean up and throw away anything within 3 feet of the bulb and found a pile of dead insects!! I might exaggerate a little but what the heck!
Look at all these little bugs...dead. From mercury? UGH! (click it to enlarge)


Liz in Seattle said...

Yeah, the reason they're so good for the environment is that usage will inevitably kill off homo sapiens (which are the root of all environmental evil anyway).

That picture says it all.

Marfa said...

Oh my....we've gotten a few of them, thankfully haven't broken any, yet. I had no idea. I really really try to avoid metals, especially mercury. You know some dentists use a mixture of metals, mostly silver, but sometimes a little mercury and other kinds, which they couldn't tell me, for fillings! I don't like that.
P.S. We have that Melissa & Doug toy, too.