My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Light bulb fascism....

These new compact fluorescent bulbs put dangerous mercury into the home....
How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent light bulb? About US$4.28 for the bulb and labour -- unless you break the bulb. Then you, like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, could be looking at a cost of about US$2,004.28, which doesn't include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health.

Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent light bulb in favour of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

According to an April 12 article in The Ellsworth American, Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter's bedroom: It dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor.

Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her that the CFL contained mercury and that she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP sent a specialist to Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter. The DEP specialist recommended that Bridges call an environmental cleanup firm, which reportedly gave her a "low-ball" estimate of US$2,000 to clean up the room. The room then was sealed off with plastic and Bridges began "gathering finances" to pay for the US$2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn't cover the cleanup costs because mercury is a pollutant.

Given that the replacement of incandescent bulbs with CFLs in the average U.S. household is touted as saving as much as US$180 annually in energy costs -- and assuming that Bridges doesn't break any more CFLs -- it will take her more than 11 years to recoup the cleanup costs in the form of energy savings.
Are we going to have to start buying light bulbs from our marijuana dealers?


Blogger Suricou Raven said...

Thats quite an overreaction. Ive broken one of those before, and did find a few droplets of silvery liquid in the debree.

I scoped them up on the non-spoony end of a teaspoon, and used an old bottle-cap to transport them to a safe place.

Ok, I poured them down the sink.

That was a few months ago, and I doubt there was any detectable level of mercury in the room once I had hoovered and scrubed the carpet.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Suricou Raven said...

A minor correction: I did not break a CFL. I broke a plain tube-light. It occurs to me that the volume of one of those lights is many times that of a CFL, so the amount of mercury must be far higher too. That very long tube contained barely enough mercury in liquid form to pick up on the small end of a teaspoon, so the amount in a CFL must be absolutly tiny.

The vapor will quickly disperse.

I also found a very nice critique of the quoted scare-mongering on

11:55 AM  

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