Skip to comments.Expert Warns of Health Risks Associated With New Light Bulb Technology
Posted on 03/10/2011 1:55:01 PM PST by jazusamo
(CNSNews.com) A lighting expert who has overseen lighting projects including the Statue of Liberty and the Petronas Towers, expressed concerns on Capitol Hill Thursday about the safety of certain types of new light bulbs.
Speaking before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Howard M. Branston spoke out in favor of the "Better Use of Light Bulbs Act" a measure which would overturn elements of a 2007 law mandating that traditional incandescent light bulbs be phased out over the next few years.
In his testimony, Branston claimed that parts of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act served as a de-facto ban on traditional incandescent light bulbs and that compact florescent light bulb, or CFLs -- the most popular alternative to incandescent bulbs (ordinary light bulbs) -- pose a risk to public health and safety.
(Click here to see a 2009 CNSNews.com commentary which addressed those issues.)
The compact fluorescent lamp contains mercury, said Branston. One gram of mercury will pollute a two acre pond. This 2007 light bulb standard brings a deadly poison into every residence in our nation.
We do not have enough knowledge of the potential consequences of being continuously exposed to the electro magnetic field that compact florescent lamps emit. There are millions of people in this country with Lupus, an auto immune disease. Exposure to low doses of light from these lamps causes a sever rash.
Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) expressed similar concerns, during his questioning of the panel.
Has anybody looked at the EPA recommendations put out in January 25, 2011 about what you do if one of these mercury light bulbs break in your home? Risch asked.
In Idaho, weve had a number of instances where theyve had a mercury spill in a science laboratory or something in the laboratory in the school, and they immediately closed the school down for, I dont know, a number of days while they cleaned it up, he pointed out.
Can you imagine mercury bulbs throughout a school? I mean, any time a kid wants a day off hes going to break a mercury light bulb and thats going to shut that school down and if they dont theyre going to have trouble with the EPA according to what has to happen to clean it up, Risch added.
Branston, part of a six-person panel testifying on the legislation, also issued warnings about the safety of LED (light-emitting diode) lamps, another alternative to incandescent light bulbs, saying that not enough research has been done to guarantee the safety of consumers who are exposed to the bulbs.
When we look at the future of LEDs we have not yet discovered all of the ramifications of that, said Branston. The French have found that the output of these lamps is harming the vision of young children. Why arent we doing epidemiology studies on that? They contain arsenic and other poisonous materials. Why arent we looking at that?
Why dont we know that when you throw one of those CFLs in the trash the mercury changes to methyl mercury which is a deadly poison, which if it gets into our water supply will be a danger?
However, panel member Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, dismissed Branstons concerns claiming that the mercury needed to power old-fashioned incandescent bulbs poses more of a health and environmental risk than that contained within the CFLs.
The biggest source of mercury in our environment, human caused mercury is from power production, Nadel said. If you use the conventional incandescent lamp I believe the EPA found that you would emit 5.5 grams of mercury into the atmosphere that then goes into the water. It can go into the fish and be ingested.
With the CFL -- and this is EPA data -- theres only 1.6 milligrams of mercury that goes into the environment. Most of that has to do with -- even a CFL results in some power production, I think 0.4 grams of mercury EPA found typically goes into the environment from the bulb itself. So, its not that one has mercury and one doesnt. They both have mercury and frankly the incandescent has more.
Besides safety and health concerns Branston, who was the only proponent of the "Better Use of Light Bulbs Act" on the panel, also cited concerns that eliminating incandescent bulbs would cost the nation jobs, put a cost burden on businesses -- many of which will have to update lighting fixtures that are incompatible with the newer bulb -- pose a fire hazard, lower the quality of the light emitted and be an unnecessary government intrusion on the free-market.
Supporters of CFLs and LEDs say the would significantly lower energy consumption in the United States and are more cost efficient than their incandescent counterparts.
The Energy Independence and Security Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush requires roughly 25 percent greater efficiency for light bulbs by 2014. Opponents argue that this will effectively ban the sale of most current incandescent light bulbs.
The EPA bans dust from farmers efforts to work in their fields.
The EPA mandates dairy farmers have an emergency plan in case they spill milk.
The EPA has determined the very air we exhale to be regulated and controlled.
Somehow the EPA is silent on the issue of mercury in these lamps.
Liberals don't care about 'facts' they care about 'control' and 'feeling good about themselves'... and this dangerous light bulb gives them both.
“The biggest source of mercury in our environment, human caused mercury is from power production, Nadel said. If you use the conventional incandescent lamp I believe the EPA found that you would emit 5.5 grams of mercury into the atmosphere that then goes into the water. It can go into the fish and be ingested. “
On which freaking planet does an incandescent lamp or even the power needed to illuminate it produce 5.5 gms Hg? What a ludicrous, baseless assertion.
I've said from the beginning: wait until we start to throw away these mercury bulbs en masse and our landfills are full of leaking mercury from these broken bulbs polluting the earth way more than any incandescent would. The libs will (then!) declare the mercury bulbs bad and outlaw the very thing they were pushing as "green" only a few short years before (but they won't admit to it and the lame stream "media" will cover for them)!
Quadrillions of fluorescent bulbs have been used in office buildings, warehouses, factories and homes in the last 100 years, discarded, and most ponds in America is still just fine, thankyouverymuch.
If more nuclear plants are built, and energy returns to "too cheap to meter," I might return to incandescents.
The EPA mandates dairy farmers have an emergency plan in case they spill milk.
Force people to buy CFL, then force them to buy hazardous waste services when they break one.
Win-win for the crony-capitalist crowd.
Yep, control is what it’s about. They don’t even mention the cost of CFL’s and I understand they’re mostly made in China.
. I know Im not the only one. Ive talked to others who have similar problems and there have been some reports about CFLs increasing migranes, depression, and worsening symptoms in diseases such as Lupus.
. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) produce radio wave frequencies. ..The closer you sit to the bulb the greater your exposure. Because the high frequencies travel along the wire you can be exposed in other rooms of your home as well as the room that contains the CFL.
. new research has come to light that indicates that CFLs emit a high humming sound that is not in our range of hearing but is in the range of hearing of cats and dogs. Can you image hearing a high pitched humming sound all day long. It would be enough to drive you nuts! Many pet owners report that their cats or dogs do not want to be in rooms with CFL bulbs on and will become anxious if they are forced to be.
The ignorant hysterical bureaucracies are clearly to blame for absurd reactions.
In my high school science labs every student learning chemistry and physics handled metallic mercury, and learned the difference between the metallic form, and soluble and insoluble mercury compounds.
Welcome to the idiocracy...
Air support for the Viking Kitty Squad?
Hmmm and in earthquake country this could be seriously bad news. Can you imagine half a dozen breaking around you and you have to step over them in bare feet to get out of your house? Or get caught inside and can’t get out? Hmmmmm....not good.
Remember the old, "We must discontinue use of paper bags to save the trees. Use plastic instead!" And now they're demanding that we quit using plastic bags as well and go to those disease-ridden stupid cloth bags.
It’s a total superiority solution.
Silly season is among us. My critters sleep soundly while we watch movies with theater surround sound.
It's more of an inhalation issue than a drinking water issue.
LOL! Right on, just hang a minigun under each of them. :-)
You ARE aware that the normal fluorescent tubes we have all been using for a hundred years each contains more mercury than the typical new CFBs?
I totally agree with that.
Choice is the hallmark of a free exchange private enterprise society.
Saving the stupid and ignorant from themselves is a lame excuse for government totalitarianism.
Mercury is great for bone embrittlement. More older people of SS age will break bones and die sooner thereby assuring the survival of the ‘lockbox’ program.
Hell, if enough younger people die of mercury poisoning we may be able to lower our retirement age. We have such a smart and caring government.
See post #23.
That said, I use incandescent lights in some parts of my home, like critical lighting, bathrooms, and places where the light will only be used intermittently.
“In my high school science labs every student learning chemistry and physics handled metallic mercury”
As a kid, it was great fun to play with little balls of mercury, and coat coins with it.
God only knows what would happen if they caught kids doing that today.
Also, in those days, I knew kids that thought lead paint chips were pretty tasty ;)
When I found out these “mandated” bulbs contained mercury, I thought (and still do) think it would be fun to go downtown very early or late and bring the ones that have burned out with me (they burn out a LOT faster than claimed). Then I’d just “accidentally” drop and break them, one at a time, somewhere on the sidewalk.
What a cheap way to get your 15 minutes.
isn’t this how the hatters of the old days became mad.
they used mercury in the hat forming process and the poisoning drove the hatters mad.
Technically correct for some coal plants. Coal has minute quantities of Hg. Clean coal technologies are removing the Hg and apparently mitigates the problem. Nadel can take his twisty bulb & go play with it till it breaks.
We tried some in a dining area fixture with four bulbs in glass flowers that are open on the bottom. The bulbs didn’t last as long as incandescents, must have been heat build up, don’t know what else it could be.
I believe both types bulbs have a place but it really ticks me off they’re in effect trying to outlaw the old ones.
I understand that coal has all kinds of nasty stuff in it, including Hg....if not virtually every element in the periodic chart!
Do you think that a coal plant producing 100 watts for the life of an incandescent bulb produces that much mercury? I suppose it’s possible for some types of coal. I also understand that 5.5 gms of Hg, being pretty heavy, does not occupy much volume.
This time of year, our cats wrap themselves up in an electric blanket and stay warm far from the computer. No amount of coaxing (except kitty treats) could get them to expose their hairless little bodies (Sphynx). Friends, relatives and neighbors have all told us the curly-qs seem not to be lasting long at all, contrary to what we've been spoon fed by the greenies.
I don’t use fluorescents but, no I didn’t know what. Sounds like we need to get rid of both.
Just follow the money and you’ll find G.E.
You're absolutely correct.
"Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China."
Ya lost me at “Quadrillions “
Go to Home Depot or Lowes and stop by the light bulb aisle. There is one name you’ll see on about half the light bulbs.
GE paid for the lobbyists which got the CFL law passed.
I don’t know how much Hg a coal electric plant makes. The guys figures are probably for dirty Chinese plants.
Dirty Chinese coal plants have put out Hg which has gone around the world and settled into alligators in half of Florida. I suppose I could look up what percentage of coal plants in the world are dirty but I’m cooking Chinese style (USA origin) dinner tonight and need to get back to it:)
Well, look on the bright side...built in thermometer!
The amount of Hg varies by type of coal. That said, it is very minute. It doesn't show up as a constituent of coal on normal chemical analysis because it is so very minute.
ANY Hg that is emitted into the atmosphere and is claimed as the amount caused by a light bulb is the result of burning A LOT of coal just to get a very minor amount of mercury vapor going out the stack.
That trace amount goes very high up and disperses globally. You are more in danger from poison in the drinks you buy at the store IMHO and I'm not saying they are dangerous I am trying to make the point that worrying about Hg in coal plants is stupid.
Hg from everyone using CFLs concentrated into landfills for the next 50 years is a much more significant danger. And I am not even saying that is a danger either. I am simply trying to point out the double standard by the EPA and the greenies. Hg in coal that is not dangerous--is dangerous to them. Hg in your local landfill accumulating for 50 years is A-OK.
Doesn’t florescence lighting degrade any art work you may have hanging in a room with them unless you’re using UV resistance glass to cover them...
I’ve never owned one and never will!!
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