Looming Lightbulb Liability—–(LLL)

I saw this one coming months ago when California wanted to make these little toxic bombs mandatory. Now people are waking up to the fact that not every energy saving idea that comes down the ‘pike is a good one. Remember when mercury was going to kill us all? Mercury from the old mines in our ground water, mercury in our homes, mercury in the fish we eat, and the Mercury parked in your driveway. (just kidding about the driveway) Anyway, the powers that be thought it would be good to bring it right back into your house via the CFL bulb. But the good news is people have noticed.

The speeding freight train carrying toxic waste liability for makers, sellers and purchasers of compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or CFLs, was only faintly audible in the distance last spring when this column first warned of it. Now we’re beginning to see that environmentalist-stoked train speed toward its victims, whom President Bush and Congress just finished tying to the tracks.

CFLs and all other fluorescent lightbulbs require special clean-up and disposal procedures because they contain small amounts of mercury, which is neurotoxic at sufficiently high exposures. For example, you’re not supposed to vacuum breakage or toss used bulbs in household trash.

Despite these clean-up and disposal hassles, environmental groups, bulb makers and retailers relentlessly have promoted CFL use as a strategy for reducing electricity consumption and the power plant emissions allegedly causing global warming.

Eco-activist groups, such as Environmental Defense, which historically have agitated to banish toxic substances from homes, workplaces and the environment, surprisingly have said that the mercury in CFLs is nothing to worry about.

But this new posturing flies in the face of the multitude of scary activist-inspired studies that hyperventilate about potential health risks from the slightest exposures to mercury, not to mention a 1987 article in Pediatrics reporting real-life mercury poisoning of a 23-month old from a broken fluorescent light bulb.

Bush and Congress joined the CFL promotion racket, too. The energy bill enacted last December mandates that traditional incandescent bulbs be phased out starting in 2012. CFLs pretty much are the only alternative.

Now here’s the part I was talking about. Mercury bad, but if we can make money, mercury good. As always,
Follow The Money

But while CFL-mandating legislation was pending in Congress, the enviros did a temporary flip-flop: Environmental Defense began pooh-poohing mercury concerns stating, “In short, the exposure from breaking a CFL is in about the same range as the exposure from eating a can or two of tuna fish.”

Two ounces of tuna used to be a horror, but in the name of CFLs, two cans became no problem.

The Associated Press reported in 1992 that fluorescent light bulbs were helping to “poison the Everglades with toxic mercury, threatening humans [and wildlife].”

In December 2000, a Massachusetts newspaper reported in an article entitled “Environmentalists Call for Mercury Product Ban” that the Massachusetts governor had proposed that trash-burning incinerators develop plans to separate fluorescent light bulbs and other mercury-containing consumer products from waste.

The business fantasy is for the nation’s 4 billion-plus light sockets to sport CFLs. There’s much more ka-ching in selling 4 billion $5 light bulbs as opposed to incandescent bulbs costing $0.75. But what about the mercury problem that may impose substantial liabilities on businesses and consumers faster than CFL light bulbs turn on?

First mercury was dangerous. Then, temporarily, it became no big deal. Now that the Greens have caught us in the CFL trap, they’re reverting to form on mercury — all to cause the sort of chaos resulting in increased government control of our lives.

As Johnny Cash sang, “I hear the train a-comin’, it’s rollin’ round the bend. …” The question is: Will President Bush and Congress just leave us on the tracks?

Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and DemandDebate.com. He is a junk science expert, advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

41 Responses

  1. Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but it’s the evil corporations liberal activists and government’s fault.

  2. Hey, just think of all the mercury I’m putting into the environment because I’ve been using fluorescent lighting in shops, barns, and houses for a very, very long time.

  3. Considering all of the long tube fluorscent bulbs I have flung and exploded, when younger, it’s a miracle my nic isn’t Quick Silver.

  4. Yes!! Nice find n2l.

  5. What I find most interesting about this article is the flip-flops. Tuna bad, tuna good, mercury bad, mercury good, mercury bad again. All for the money.

    The business fantasy is for the nation’s 4 billion-plus light sockets to sport CFLs. There’s much more ka-ching in selling 4 billion $5 light bulbs as opposed to incandescent bulbs costing $0.75.

  6. It’s those evil leftist corporate types.

  7. Yup. Just in case they should succeed , I’ve got a dozen of each wattage bulb and will add more.

  8. Smart man.
    I should start buying butt-loads of them myself, and to really piss off the moonbats, buy some more Coleman lanterns.

  9. A big part of the reason for sticking with the old bulbs is the claim of CFL’s lasting 10 times longer. It’s not true by a long shot. They cost 10 times more, but last about the same. I’ve tried them. (before they decided to force me to use them)

  10. I’ve never tried them. I only use the regular bulbs, and I replace the 60w bulb on my computer table lamp about twice a year, and the same for the same type of lamp above my entertainment system. I’ve had to replace all four of the flourescent tubes in my kitchen at least twice since I’ve been here, three years now, and they are a whole lot more expensive.
    Doesn’t the cost to buy, the cost to produce, and the cost to expose of factor into the total cost, including energy usage, as compared to a standard bulb? It certainly does to me.

  11. An undercover survey of more than 100 mosques and Islamic schools in America has exposed widespread radicalism, including the alarming finding that 3 in 4 Islamic centers are hotbeds of anti-Western extremism, WND has learned.

    The Mapping Sharia in America Project, sponsored by the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, has trained former counterintelligence and counterterrorism agents from the FBI, CIA and U.S. military, who are skilled in Arabic and Urdu, to conduct undercover reconnaissance at some 2,300 mosques and Islamic centers and schools across the country.

    “So far of 100 mapped, 75 should be on a watchlist,” an official familiar with the project said. WND

  12. Doesn’t the cost to buy, the cost to produce, and the cost to expose of factor into the total cost, including energy usage, as compared to a standard bulb? It certainly does to me.

    Yeah, well, rational thought like that will not be tolerated when the LLL’s control the world.

  13. “So far of 100 mapped, 75 should be on a watchlist,” an official familiar with the project said. WND

    Somehow, I’m not surprised.

  14. Nuke, now stop trying to knock me over with a feather like that.

  15. Well…shoot!
    No winning lotto ticket, no touchscreen table.
    /and no ZR-1, no Bentley Silver Spur……..

  16. aaawwww, me neither. No anything new…. 😦

    (but hey, life is still good)

  17. me neither.
    but I didn’t buy a ticket this week.
    Might have sumpin to do with it.

  18. Ya think?? 😆

  19. I got no complaints, other than the one’s listed above.
    /and a M107

  20. It don’t pay if you don’t play!
    Somebody won that big-azz Mega Million last night, the payout after the state’s cut and taxes, was $165m-m-m-million.

  21. Wow, that would be fun.

  22. I like the way that just kind of rolls off the tongue.
    165 mmmmmmlllion

  23. It staccatos, more like muh-muh-muh million.

  24. Mark Steyn…that guy, I swear!

    Hillary is what the Clintons look like with their pants up.


  25. I’d probably die of a heart attack just from the excitement.

  26. Not me, Robert D.
    I figure I would instantly appear ten years younger, my hair would turn brown again, I would shed about fifteen pounds, and my breath would be minty fresh, before I backed away from the computer, after checking the numbers. Then things would only get better. I would have a shit-eating grin that Enzyte Bob would envy.

  27. Or there’s that…..

  28. Henh…yep, that, and a touchscreen table. I could never have enough toys. Might even build a little Buick powered dirt tracker.

  29. One thing fo’sho’, I need to spend a little time with ma’boy before I hit the bunk. It’s time for his evening brushing. He’s over the cold he had earlier this week, and he was in a very playful mood today. He even wanted to show off for my brother when he came over today.
    I love this little guy.
    Night y’all.

  30. I’m glad to hear he’s better. G’nite n2l…..and yer’boy.

  31. G’nite nuke, I’m off to surf a little before bedtime.

  32. American Kurdish Info Network.
    Nuke, thought you might like to check it out.

  33. President Coolidge cautioned Americans that, “unless the faith of the Americans in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we abandon the cause.”

    Coolidge ended his speech with a stark warning, “We must not sink into a pagan materialism…” (Back Fired, William Federer, pp. 269-271)

    Yet, believing they are “enlightened” and “scientific,” maddened Liberals and Transnational “elites” are leading America over the Gadarene Cliff.

    Great piece…and long.

  34. Where in the world do y ‘all buy your fluorescent bulbs or fixtures? I have bulbs in the office, kitchen, and bathroom fixtures that have not been changed in years. There is a fluorescent bulb in the closet and the porch light because, again, I just HATE having to change bulbs. I disliked the eyeball lighting above the fireplace because the bulbs ALWAYS blew..until I put in fluorescents.

  35. great find!…and yes they will leave us on the tracks no doubt! 🙂

  36. Thank you Angel, and I must agree about leaving us on the tracks. Once a law is made all sanity goes out the window. Of course all sanity went out the window before they made the law.

  37. Swamps. I have no problem with the old fluorescent bulbs. It’s those new squiggly things that don’t last. (could be they’re made that way)

  38. Well, I get my squiggly bulbs from Home Depot and haven’t had a problem with them as yet. Do you have the Home Depot squiggly bulbs or the Wal-Mart squiggly bulbs?

  39. I don’t use any squiggly bulbs. (anymore) Once they made it a law, I stocked up on the old ones. Kinda like ammunition if you live in California.
    I’m sick of the Nanny Laws!

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