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Fears: One of the low-energy lightbulbs that are classed as 'hazardous waste'

It appears that the new low energy light bulbs have illuminated a whole new problem;

Councils across the UK are refusing to pick up low-energy lightbulbs from homes as they contain toxic mercury, which gives off poisonous vapours. But confused consumers are putting the new bulbs – classed as hazardous waste – in their dustbins when they burn out, potentially putting the safety of thousands of binmen at risk. Previously, the public disposed of traditional lightbulbs, used in Britain for 120 years, in a domestic bin. However, they are being phased out under a European Union ruling and are being replaced with energy-saving bulbs, many of which contain mercury. Last night UNISON, the union which represents thousands of rubbish collectors across Britain, said it was concerned at the risks binmen are facing.

Any thoughts on the dangers for consumers or do they not matter? The EU has imposed these dangerous light bulbs and now the consequences become all too apparent. At the time, ATW opposed this diktat. We are proven right, sadly.

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  1. Eco-Fundamentalists rarely apply logic or foresight to their actions. One can only imagine what effect these CFL’s will have on landfills and water tables. What I really find interesting are the number of qualified statements about CFL’s from these so-called eco-fundamentalist ideologues, er…I mean…’experts’;

    “Even though mercury from the broken CFL is not likely to be dangerous, it would be wise to take extra precautions to minimize mercury exposures. The US EPA publishes guidelines about the specific steps that you should take to clean up mercury in the event that a CFL breaks in your home. Briefly, EPA recommends that (1) you immediately open windows to reduce mercury concentrations inside your home; (2) you do not touch the spilled mercury; (3) you clean up the broken CFL glass carefully and immediately (but not with your hands or a vacuum cleaner), and (4) you wipe the affected area with a paper towel to remove all glass fragments and mercury. EPA further recommends that you place the paper towel and glass fragments in a sealed plastic bag and bring the sealed bag to your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
    Collection Site…

    …Helen Suh MacIntosh is a professor in environmental health at Harvard University and studies how pollution behaves in the environment and how it affects people’s health. Please keep in mind that her answers are just her interpretation of available information and should not be taken as the only viewpoint or solution to a problem. Use this column at your own risk. ”
    Link: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=CFR+light+bulbs+dangerous&aq=0p&aqi=p-p1g6g-s1g2&aql=&oq=CFR

    Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll be stocking up on incandescents.

    In other news, eco-fundamentalists sue to stop solar power plant from being built…
    “(Reuters) – A leading environmental advocacy group is suing the state of California’s Energy Commission over its approval of a giant solar plant, underscoring the growing challenge to the nation’s renewable-energy goals from within the environmental community…”
    Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/05/us-solar-idUSTRE70432N20110105

  2. Not sure why the Mail say “confused consumers”. I’m not ‘confused’ when I put them in the nearest bin available.

    I didn’t ask for them and don’t want to be forced to use them. So when they break you can call me an “unconcerned consumer”. I don’t see why a problem artificially created by govt should interest me.

    The union just want more money for their members to not do their jobs. The mercury won’t kill anyone – you’re more likely to die of a heart attack pushing your recycling bin around. Of more annoyance is the fact that the bulbs are so awful at lighting a room.

  3. We switched 100% to the new bulbs a few years ago. No problems with them and the light they provide is excellent. As yet, none have gone in the bin, as they last for years!

    Maybe some of you guys would prefer oil-lamps?

  4. I’m not confused either. Whilst the traditional light bulbs are still available I will use only them. Who wants to look at those hideous light bulbs or sit in their gloom? Besides which their price is outrageous.

  5. The old fashioned bulbs emit a higher quality light. I try not to use the new ones for reading, etc.

  6. Besides which their price is outrageous.

    Yes, but over their lives they cost less than half as much as the old ones because of their lower electricity consumption.

  7. At work I use full spectrum light bulbs. They are more expensive but the light quality is amazing.

  8. The ones that you most often see ( as in the above image ) are of atrocious light quality – and when they break, they spill mercury. Apart from that, they’re fantastic

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