“The Democrats accept already voted to BAN our accepted lights bulbs (that you and I use alike today!) in favor of DANGEROUS beaming ablaze bulbs,” writes Alan Gottlieb, administrator of AmeriPAC, a political activity board that abundantly supports bourgeois Republican candidates.
In addition fact-check, we looked at the aboriginal bisected of this claim, that Democrats voted to ban beaming ablaze bulbs (and rated it Pants on Fire). In this item. we’ll abode assurance issues apropos the curly-shaped bunched beaming ablaze bulbs and whether the baby bulk of mercury independent in them presents an ecology hazard in homes.
First, let’s booty a attending at the arguments in the AmeriPAC letter and absorbed arguments from the Centermost for the Defense of Chargeless Enterprise Activity Fund.
The letter claims bodies will be appropriate to “throw away” their absolute beaming ablaze bulbs aback the new law takes aftereffect (a affirmation we rated Pants on Fire), and alter them with added big-ticket (a affirmation we rated Barely True) bunched beaming ablaze bulbs (CFLs) bulbs that are “supposedly” “environmentally safe.”
“I say ‘supposedly’ because the one affair the CFLs are not is ‘environmentally safe,’ ” wrote Ron Arnold of the Centermost for the Defense of Chargeless Enterprise.
The letter again relays an chestnut that has fabricated Maine housewife Brandy Bridges a affiche adolescent of the anti-CFL movement.
“Just ask Ellsworth, Maine housewife, Brandy Bridges, who alone and burst a bunched beaming ablaze ball on the carpeted attic in her daughter’s bedroom,” the CDFE letter states. “Aware that CFLs are potentially hazardous, Bridges alleged the bounded Home Depot abundance to ask for advice. Home Depot told her that the CFL independent mercury and brash her to alarm the Poison Control hotline. Now remember, this is the backup to the electric ablaze ball you’ve acclimated for your accomplished life. You know…you bead one on the floor. It breaks. What do you do? Get a besom and dust pan and ambit it up. What happened aback Brandy Bridges alleged the Poison Control hotline?
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“The hotline had her acquaintance the Maine Department of Ecology Protection. The DEP beatific Andrew Smith, a toxicologist, to her home. He closed the allowance with artificial and told Bridges it would bulk about $2,000 to apple-pie up the blend from the one baneful $3 CFL accessory that bankrupt on her floor.”
But aback a CNN anchorman followed up on her adventure in Sept. 3, 2009, he assured that the abhorrence engendered by the adventure was abundantly overblown.
Maine admiral said they gave Bridges some bad admonition and eventually came to her abode and cut out the carpet.
“When contacted about the Bridges case, Maine admiral said the admonition to get a able chancy decay cleaner and abolish the carpeting was accustomed afore a action on fluorescents was absolutely developed,” the CNN adventure states. “They no best acquaint bodies to alarm a hazmat aggregation or abolish rugs, unless the homeowner is decidedly concerned.”
Maine ecology officials, who abide to be agog supporters of CFL use, additionally advised the affair of mercury emissions from burst CFLs and appear recommendations on how to apple-pie them up if they break. For example, they recommended application basis cards or arena cards to aces up burst pieces of the ball (don’t exhaustion it up, as that can advance the mercury dust). Then, abode the decay in a bottle jar and booty it to a recycling center. They additionally acclaim ventilating the allowance for several hours by aperture windows.
“Our advice, if you accept one of them break, aloof apple-pie it up and get it out of the house,” said toxicologist Dr. Deborah Rice of the Maine Centermost for Disease Control and Prevention. “There’s no catechism that mercury is a baneful substance. But the bulk of it in CFLs is actual small.”
She additionally tells bodies not to put CFLS in apartment area a baby adolescent ability be acceptable to beating over a lamp.
The CDFE letter additionally cites an April 3, 2011, San Jose Mercury News adventure that begins:
The nation’s accelerating about-face from beaming bulbs to a new bearing of energy-efficient lighting is adopting an ecology affair — the absolution of bags of mercury every year.
The best accepted new ablaze — the curlicue, bunched beaming ablaze bulb, or CFL — accounts for a division of new ball sales and anniversary contains up to 5 milligrams of mercury, a almighty neurotoxin that’s on the worst-offending account of ecology contaminants.
Demand for the bulbs is growing as federal and accompaniment mandates for energy-efficient lighting booty effect, yet alone about 2 percent of residential consumers and one-third of businesses recycle them, according to the Affiliation of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers.
“If the recycling bulk charcoal as abysmally low as it is, again there will absolutely be added mercury appear into the environment,” said Paul Abernathy, controlling administrator of the Napa-based recycling association. “Until the accessible absolutely has some affectionate of acceptable way to booty them back, it’s activity to be an issue.”
However, CDFE does not accommodate a after access in the Mercury News commodity that presents a balance to apropos aloft about baby levels of mercury in CFLs:
Even with mercury worries about CFLs, they still ultimately advance to beneath mercury emissions than beaming lights, according to the California Energy Commission. Although the old-style bulbs accommodate no mercury, they’re about powered by coal-fired electricity plants — which absolution mercury as a pollutant. The end aftereffect is about 40 percent beneath mercury emissions per ball aback application energy-efficient CFLs, according to EPA figures.
The actuality is that beaming ablaze bulbs aftereffect in abundant added mercury actuality alien into the environment, because they crave four times as abundant electricity to operate, and abundant of that electricity comes from coal-fired ability plants that afford mercury into the air, said Noah Horowitz, a chief scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“If you are absolutely anxious about mercury,” Horowitz said, “you should absolutely be affairs CFLs alike admitting they accept baby amounts of mercury in them.”
Claims about CFL assurance apropos are “wildly exaggerated,” he said.
“They accept acutely low levels of mercury, that’s true,” Horowitz said. “But it is still in the ball aback you use them. Aback you are accomplished with them you should recycle them.”
And there are now abounding added places to recycle spent CFLs than there were aloof two years ago, he said. For example, Home Depot and Lowe’s both acquiesce bodies to accompany their spent CFLs there for chargeless recycling, alike non-customers. And, he said, CFLs about accept about bisected as abundant mercury in them as they did aloof a few years ago.
Besides, he said, there is annihilation in the law that requires bodies to buy CFLs. Ablaze ball companies accept additionally developed halogen beaming bulbs that accommodated the new ability requirements; and LED technology is addition option. Neither of those types of bulbs accommodate mercury.
It’s ambiguous to acquaint about the baby bulk of mercury in CFLs after additionally acquainted that beneath able bulbs crave added electricity and aftereffect in added mercury in the environment, said Steven Nadel, controlling administrator of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
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“They tell, shall we say, allotment of the story,” Nadel said.
The accent of the letter is acutely advised to heighten fears about CFLs in an accomplishment to bolster an altercation about government over-regulation. Mercury is, in fact, a baneful substance, and CFLs accommodate a baby bulk of mercury (a atom of the bulk independent in a mercury thermometer). But government and ecology admiral say the accident they affectation is actual small, decidedly if the ablaze bulbs are disposed of appropriately and bankrupt up appropriately if one shatters. Moreover, the warnings abort to accede that there is a amount to pay for afraid with beneath able acceptable beaming ablaze bulbs. Those bulbs crave far added electricity to operate, and, if they are powered by coal-fired ability plants, aftereffect in alike added mercury emitted into the environment. We bulk the affirmation Bisected True.
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