Skip to comments.The shocking truth about those CFL lamps the EPA wants to force you to use
Posted on 09/26/2013 4:39:35 PM PDT by Truthoverpower
Fluorescent Lamps contain and operate on exciting MERCURY VAPOR, which then causes the phosphorous on the glass to fluoresce, and thus the incorrect name given to these mercury vapor lamps Mercury is a well known highly toxic poison and one 4 foot T8 lamp contains about a MILLIONS of times the concentration of Mercury in air that is the maximum safe level. Mercury gas is much heavier than air and, it will thus remain near the ground level and will easily entrain itself into anything it touches , including carpets furniture and flooring. Mercury gas is odorless and colorless, and once released , it is nearly impossible to remove Source : http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mrls/mrllist.asp#24tag Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) for Hazardous Substances
Inh. Chr. 0.0002 mg/m3 30 Neurol. Final 03/1999 7439-97-6
SUMMARY Mercury vapor should not exceed 0.0002 mg m-3 in air to stay below safe levels Concentration of Hg (g) inside Fluorescent Lamps
SUMMARY OF Hg GAS CONCENTRATION IN DIFFERENT LAMP TYPES
ONE FOUR FOOT T8 LAMP HAS ~ 164 MILLION times this concentration inside it ONE CFL LAMP HAS ~ 165 BILLION times this concentration inside it
T8 lamp is 4 feet long and one inch in diameter One T8 typically contains 20mg of Mercury - but can range much higher Volume of a T8 lamp in ft 3 = π * r2 * L = 3.14 * (1/24)2 * 4 = 0.0218 ft3 Ft3 = 0.028 m3 Volume of T8 lamp in cubic mtr = 0.000614 m3 CONCENTRATION IN T8 LAMP of Hg (g) = 20 mg / 0.000614= 32765 mg / m3 That is 32.8 grams / m3 - that is 32765/.0002 = 163,285,000 TIMES AS HIGH!
CFL CALCULATION Though proponents of CFLs often argue a single bulb only contains 5 mg of mercury, a study found it was an average. There are a number of different size and wattage CFLs so the standard 13 W lamp was used The 13 W CFL bulbs tested and broken actually ranged from 4 to 23 mg of mercury content 100% of lamps surveyed were made in China. CFLs range in volume, but typical 13W has volume of 0.58 *(1/96)2 * 3.14 = 0.000108 ft3 Ft3 = 0.028 m3 Volume of CFL lamp in cubic mtr = 3.03 x 10-6 m3 10 mg of Hg is assumed CONCENTRATION = 10 mg / 3.03 x 10-6 m3 = 33 MILLION mg per meter cubed or 3.3 KILOGRAMS per m3 That is 33,000,000 /.0002 = 165,000,000,000 TIMES AS HIGH! THAT IS 165 BILLION HOW MUCH AIR WOULD BE NEEDED TO BRING DOWN TO SAFE LEVELS? (and again Mercury is heavy, does not disperse, and will entrain itself into anything) One Four Foot T8 To get to .0002 mg/ m3 - 20 mg of mercury requires 100,000 Cubic Meters or 4,000,000 Cubic Feet ofAir One CFL 10 mg of Mercury will require 50,000 Cubic Meters or 2,000,000 Cubic Feet of Air SUMMARY Once released in an indoor environment , the mercury can NEVER be totally removed.
What can mercury do to a person?
A sudden high exposure to mercury vapor inhaled into the lung causes headaches, cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. It may also cause soreness of the mouth, loss of teeth, nausea, and diarrhea. It may lead to permanent lung scarring. A very high exposure to mercury can damage your kidneys.
Long-term exposure to mercury can cause effects which develop gradually. It may cause shaking of the hands, eyelids, lips, tongue, or jaw. It may cause headaches, trouble sleeping, personality change, memory loss, irritability, indecisiveness and loss of intelligence. It can also cause skin rash, sores in the mouth, or sore and swollen gums. Many of these symptoms go away when the exposure to mercury stops. Your body gets rid of mercury through urine.
Mercury poisoning can be treated with a medicine that pulls mercury out of your body and into the urine. This medicine is only used if mercury exposure is recentnot if mercury exposure occurred many years ago,. When the effects of mercury last for years after exposure stops, that injury is usually permanent. SUMMARY The important thing to understand that Mercury poisioning is insidious, gradual and cumulative; When the Atoms are accumulated in the body they gradually start to comrimise the immune system and causes all kinds of other related ailments because it binds irreversibly to Magesium, Iron,and other important ions in the body EPA WEBSITE Here are what the EPA website has to say about these concerns: Learn More about Mercury and CFLs 2. Using CFLs (and other fluorescent bulbs) reduces the amount of mercury released into the environment Mercury is found in many rocks including coal. When coal is burned at a utility power plant to produce electricity, mercury is released into the environment. In the U.S., burning coal at power plants results in about half of all mercury emissions from man-made sources (source: 2005 National Emissions Inventory). Using energy-efficient CFLs reduces demand for power, which in turn reduces the amount of coal burned by power plants and the amount of mercury emitted when coal is burned. 3. CFLs contain very small amounts of mercury Mercury, an essential part of CFLs, allows a bulb to be an efficient light source. On average, CFLs contain about four milligrams of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury an amount equal to the mercury in over 100 CFLs. Manufacturers of fluorescent lighting products are working to reduce the amount of mercury content in CFLs. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (i.e., not broken) or in use, but CFLs can release mercury vapor when broken
RESPONSE TO THE EPA INFORMATION on COAL PLANTS AND ATMOSPHERIC LEVELS OF MERCURY The point source for Mercury Vapor from coal power plants and all other 'remote' sources has resulted in a worldwide concentration of approximately 1 ng / m3 of Mercury Atoms in air, or approximately 1/2000 the level considered the maximum level before risk of 0.002 mg/ m3 The fluorescent lamp industry worldwide has over 40 + years had to produce from scratch ores, mining and refining , approximately 10 MILLION TONS of Mercury from the raw ores . These mercury gas filled fragile glass tubes are now in every building in the United States of America. All the burnt out tubes that are broken on site add Mercury into that atmosphere at that point , which then becomes the point source wherever it occurs. Since no one is aware of this, the mercury continues to be released and accumulates- it never goes away, and is much heavier than air A single T8 lamp broken inside a room would instantly raise the local Mercury level to 10,000,000+ times what the natural atmospheric level is and the room will likely NEVER be able to get back to the normal atmospheric concentration, even with serious effort and specialized equipment, since again the Mercury is a GAS , and cannot be easily captured, and acts much like a liquid at room temperatures. EVEY YEAR approximately 1500 TONS of MERCURY GAS needs to be made from scratch to make the new T8 tubes and CFLs . This again, is mostly done in China, with NO supervision and there is untold harm being caused to the workers in those plants. The Only goal is a $ 2.50 T8 lamp and a 99c CFL Government and utility subsides and efforts to subsidize and popularize these lamps have made them nearly FREE to purchase for decades and they are ubiquitous in every Home Depot and ACE hardware Since these mercury filled glass tubes only last a few years by definition ALL of them have have to be removed and destroyed. The mercury vapor is released into the environment at that point of destruction. Thus the mercury content in and around these "recycling centers" is extremely high, and these are typically located right near people, with none of the regulations of siting a coal fired or other power plant. "Recycling centers " are typically given high priority locations because they are "green" IGNORANCE OF THE PUBLIC TO THIS DANGER is EXACERBATED by the EPA comparing LIQUID MERCURY under pressure versus MERCURY VAPOR under a VACCUM - and making it seem therefore small and inconsequential - we all played with a drop of mercury from a broken thermometer, right? EPA " On average, CFLs contain about four milligrams of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury an amount equal to the mercury in over 100 CFLs." INHALATION OF MERCURY ATOMS DOES NOT EQUAL ABSORBTION THROUGH SKIN! Metallic Mercury is a dense liquid that vaporizes easily at room temperature. Metallic mercury is not easily absorbed into unbroken skin. However, it vaporizes, even at room temperature. The higher the temperature, the more vapors are released. Mercury vapors are colorless and odorless, though they can be seen with the aid of an ultraviolet light.
OUR VIEW OF THE EPA AND ENERGY STAR PROGRAM PUSHING FLOURESCENTS The EPA runs and regulates the Energy Star program. The EPA is pushing these highly toxic fragile glass mercury lamps upon us through their own energy savings program and has been more than 30 years. This cannot be by accident. They are simply making an environmental mess they will profit from because it will be they which will regulate this growing problem. You must by law pay recycle these lamps according to government standards or potentially face thousands of dollars in fines. Despite millions of these lamps being throw in the trash, right in plain sign on the street everyday, the EPA and local agencies rarely ever fine anybody or enforce these rules and regulations - that is despite increasing regulations and enforcement on everything else EPA INSTRUCTIONS ON WHAT TO DO WHEN A CFL breaks Source : http://www2.epa.gov/cfl/cleaning-broken-cfl Because they contain mercury, fluorescent lamps are classified by the EPA as hazardous waste. To minimize exposure to mercury vapor, EPA recommends that residents follow the cleanup and disposal steps described on this page. Have all people and pets leave the room. Air out the room by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment. Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one. DO NOT VACUUM.. Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor. Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors. Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area OUR COMMENTS ON THESE INSTRUCTIONS by the EPA Although at first they say for everyone to leave the room, SOMEONE must return to do the cleanup, and the EPA does NOT recommend any type of protective equipment for that person here. Regulations in the some states such as New York, have lengthy detailed descriptions of PPA recommended in order to minimize exposure to the person cleaning up the broken lamps, including respiratory protection and specific gloves . This equipment must be thrown away after use. The EPA also has NO instructions as regards the disposal of the tubular lamps , which contain far more mercury, and are typically broken at one end and the mercury simply leaks out slowly over time- OTHER FACTS ABOUT MERCURY VAPOR LAMPS and THEIR MANUFACTURE 1) Nearly 100 % of the CFL lamps are manufactured in China and are untested for mercury content . Putting More Mercury in the lamp makes it brighter and last longer, and thus the manufacturers in China have incentive to do so , despite claims by the EPA that they are attempting to "reduce the mercury content as much as possible" 2) China does not have health and safety concerns on a par with our own and MILLIONS of TONS of Mercury GAS are needed every year to meet the worldwide demand . 3) The Mercury gas cannot be recycled and thus all of it ends up on the environment . Thousands of times a day a fluorescent tube or CFL is broken inside buildings, and most of the time , people are totally unaware of any danger, only they shouldnt "throw them away" THIS IS COMPLETELY DUE TO THE EPA NOT SUFFICIENTLY WARNING PEOPLE AND IN FACT DOWNPLAYING THE DANGER OF THIS TOXIC GAS IN THE LAMPS!
If the mercury vapor escapes from the bulb, how does it stay lit?
where is this information from?
And LED’s are coming down in price and out perform CFL’s
It is ok to be “green” even if you are conservative.
I have “shocking truth” fatigue. As well as, “one weird trick to...” fatigue.
I throw dead CFLs in the trash. The f’ing government mandates them; the f’ing government can deal with them. Not my problem.
THIS IS TO WARN ALL FREEPERS ABOUT THE DANGER OF CFLs
IS IT NOISY WHERE YOU ARE? I’LL TYPE IN ALL CAPS SO YOU CAN HEAR ME!
I’ve been using them for the past ten years or so. They save a ton of money on the electric bill. And if you get the right brand, they are a pleasant color.
I think over the years we have broken ONE bulb. We cleaned it up carefully. No problems.
Our electricity here in Vermont is extremely expensive. We have one large room in the house—a combination kitchen, dining, study, family meeting, and all-purpose room. When we bought the house it had twenty 100 watt bulbs around the ceiling. Now it has twenty 13 watt bulbs. A little dimmer than it was, but bright enough to cook, read, work with computers, or whatever. And it’s down from 2,000 watts to 260 watts. The rest of the house is much the same.
You’re not supposed to throw those in the trash.
You’re supposed to hold onto them until you at least two dozen — and then dump them at the door of the nearest EPA office about an hour or two before it opens.
That way they will be properly disposed of by people who know how.
There is nothing exciting about mercury vapor, particularly if it's loose in your house.
Our govt is killing us softly by degrees.
I’ve heard this info about a MILLIONS of times.
You waited a month after signing up just to make this your first post?
This reads like it was written by a Chinese help desk person named “Ralph”. It’s crap.
THE LOUD FAMILY
I save electric light use by walking around the house with a flashlight when it's dark, instead of turning the lights on.
they are really dangerous. Not worth the small electricity savings. They wil kill you.
Try learning to walk around the house with just the ambient light from all the household gadgets indicator lights (microwave, cable modem, answering machine, etc.) like I do.
If you insist. By the way, do you have a directory of EPA office locations?
Carpet munchers, beware!
Find bargains on LEDs....Costco occasionally has great buys....LEDs are the future and they are great.
Right now, dimmable floods are very nice, very warm light. The little socket candelabras are still evolving, but getting there.
As a kid we used to get to poke it around on a flat surface when not holding it in our hands.
How did we ever survive?
(LEDs are getting to be pretty good).
“Mercury is fun.”
Used to get it out of the old thermostats. We called it “quick silver”
The room was well constrained for any outflow and entry very restricted.
Uh, my house thermostat still has its factory supply.
Just wondering. Do the long tubes that homes and businesses have been using for decades (and which folks often enjoy smashing) have the same issues? Should we fear the tubes as well?
Been lurking since 1995. FYI.
Also not only are these things filled with mercury but they also give off uv and other nasty radiation. Flicker buzz. And cause all kinds of problems for sensitive people like those with lupus light sensivity epilepsy and migrane sufferers. It is plain and simple time to ban these 1940s era toxic lamps
Most people have no idea that fluorescent tubes many of which are by the
Four and six right by people or piled broken in the trash have Mercury
Gas in high concentration enough to seriously poison you and
Permanently ruin your place of business or home This to me is completely
Unacceptable. And don’t tell me that 165 Billion times the max exposure
Concentration inside ain’t a big deal. Multiply that times a trillion or so
Of these stupid lamps installed worldwide and another 10 -30 Billion a year still being made Sold and installed as I type here .This needs to
Stop and stop yesterday IMO. and the fact that the EPA pushes these things and has the nerve to call them green and THEN downplay these concerns should piss off anyone who cares about people and health
Yes and this is very important. They are much worse and have much more
Mercury. In this analysis the T8 I refer to is the typical four foot one inch
Diameter lamp They typically have 25-40 mg and a conc 150 Million times
What is max allowed. This is about 7-10x one cfl. Much of the discussion centers on CFls which
Are a very small part of this problem. T8s are written into every single
Building code in the us. The lamps have NO warning except for a circle Hg
I see them on the street in the trash everyday the mercury just sits in the tube and gradually leaks out. The callous disregard and even I would
Call CRIMiNAL conspiracy to suppress this information by the EPA
Is ongoing They don’t even talk about the tubes at all
I have a friend whose house caught fire from a CFL. The fire inspector told him CFLs are dangerous.
For more info on mercury webelements is good. Mercury liquid does
Not equal gas in terms of exposure. This is a key lie of the EPA.
Yes all of us over 40 have broken a old thermometer and played with a blob or chemistry lab. This only serves to cement ignorance with the low CHEMISTRY information person. Which is Alot more than 50%
Mercury In these tubes is under vacuum and its a gas Mercury is the only
Element which is liquid at room temp. It will create a high vapor pressure
At 25c. Easily enough to exceed 1mg/m-3. It is invisible colorless and odorless as a gas. And it weighs 200. Air is 32. The dreaded carbon
Dioxide (dry ice) is 44. You see how it goes to the floor as it sublimates or turns direct from solid to liquid #s are Grams per mole
I’m simply here to help people get through the BS and not be harmed anymore by our stupid out of control government zealots
what to use instead? I use clear incandescents. They are now available
Again after the government forced them to put a white coating to cut down the light and make them look like fluorescents But I live in an 1860s house with pull chain lamps and Giant windows. So we don’t need a lot of lumens
Also they are 2$ and completely dimmable no problem
LEDs . Are clearly it for high task work or lots of hrs etc. just make sure
Of the color temp and that its not too blue. They are the here and now for commercial. Period.
All the way back to 1995, huh? That's impressive!
Vermont wintertimes, one would think, would love to have that 2000 watts worth of resistive heating elements/illumination devices.
I had a dear friend that could not be near CFLs for the reasons you mention. It was heartbreaking to see the effect.
Yep. I was in grad school at UH Manoa . I still remember the old old format and Drudge hadn’t started so there was just FR and Rush (and ken Hamblin and g Gordon liddy ). I didn’t even own a computer it was the schools Internet. My first experience with the Internet was FR. Logged on once as a kid in like 98 but got too goofy and got canned. Kudos to Jim for an excellent site. Been turning on folks to FR and contributing When I can. ( 3 kids and wife and Obama economy take up most time and $; )
On the site since 1995? That’s 2 years before FR was launched. And you lurked all those years until last month? BS.
Anyway, your position on CFLs is grossly overstated paranoia, given that old style straight tube fluorescents have been around since the 1940s in homes, stores, factories, and public places in huge quantities and you can count the number of fatalities they have caused on one hand with fingers left over.
Seriously, you’re not seeing the forest for the trees. Sure mercury is bad stuff, but if fluorescents were that big a source of imminent danger, we would have been seeing deaths left and right for many decades. We have not seen that. Worry about something that’s an actual problem, please?
When I think of all of the critical political issues that have come and gone over the last seventeen years (nineteen, if we're counting back to 1995), I have to agree. Above all else, CFL lightbulbs prompts you to post?
Mercury is an insidious poison. Look into it and get back to me. It doesn’t
Kill you instantly but does severe damage like nuclear ions.
And the fact is these things ALL fluorescents are terrible for the eyes to work under everything. Its time to change. It is important. It’s where everyone has to work play shop it’s called lights And putting millions of tons of mercury into our world and the EPA blatantly lying about these thing for 50+!years and shilling for GE has got to stop
Yes, but the wood and pellet stoves heat more cheaply than the power company.
That way they will be properly disposed of by people who know how.
Mail ‘em to your senator/congressthing?
I have a friend whose house caught fire from a CFL. The fire inspector told him CFLs are dangerous.
Funny, that. Every CFL I have replaced (with an edison) had brown or blackened plastic at the base. One was warped because the plastic had softened; another actually sparked and burned.
I’m back on edison bulbs until LED bulbs come down in price. At the moment Home Depot has LED floodlights (CFLs are useless in the cold) are three times the price of quartz halogen outdoor floods.
As well, edison bulbs stand up better to the power outages/surges we see fairly frequently than CFLs do. Want to bet LED bulbs will have the same fragility CFLs do? (Not the LED themselves, the circuitry needed to step down 120VAC to 5VDC.)
We agree that mercury is a very nasty poison, and its effects are awful.
> ... like nuclear ions.
Could you explain what you mean by "nuclear ions" in this context? Please get technical, as I'm likely to understand it better in technical terms than a mere lay explanation.
> And the fact is these things ALL fluorescents are terrible for the eyes to work under everything.
I hate working under old-style (60Hz) fluorescent lighting -- it flickers, hums, and makes me crazy after half an hour. OTOH, I don't have any problem with high-freq CFLs. There's no discernible flicker or hum, and the color spectrum is more pleasant.
> Its time to change. It is important. Its where everyone has to work play shop its called lights
Personally I favor LED lighting. Incandescents are fine as heaters, not so great as light sources.
> And putting millions of tons of mercury into our world and the EPA blatantly lying about these thing for 50+!years and shilling for GE has got to stop
Well, I'm no particular fan of the EPA. But "millions of tons" from CFLs? That's a heck of a lot of mercury to have been contributed by the tiny amounts of vapor in CFLs, especially if they're being disposed of properly. Let me advise you of something -- this is quoted from the Wikipedia page on Mercury:
Natural sources, such as volcanoes, are responsible for approximately half of atmospheric mercury emissions. The human-generated half can be divided into the following estimated percentages:Comment? Specifically, where would you place the ACTUAL contribution -- actual releases of mercury from CFLs into the atmosphere -- in the list above? Please document with cites from sources who are not affiliated with either rabid pro-CFL crusaders like EPA or GE, or rabid anti-CFLs crusaders; something from a neutral peer reviewed science journal would be great.
- 65% from stationary combustion, of which coal-fired power plants are the largest aggregate source (40% of U.S. mercury emissions in 1999). This includes power plants fueled with gas where the mercury has not been removed. Emissions from coal combustion are between one and two orders of magnitude higher than emissions from oil combustion, depending on the country.
- 11% from gold production. The three largest point sources for mercury emissions in the U.S. are the three largest gold mines. Hydrogeochemical release of mercury from gold-mine tailings has been accounted as a significant source of atmospheric mercury in eastern Canada.
- 6.8% from non-ferrous metal production, typically smelters.
- 6.4% from cement production.
- 3.0% from waste disposal, including municipal and hazardous waste, crematoria, and sewage sludge incineration.
- 3.0% from caustic soda production.
- 1.4% from pig iron and steel production.
- 1.1% from mercury production, mainly for batteries.
- 2.0% from other sources.
Hi! Very thoughtful response. Remember first and foremost I’m talking about the tubes 4 ft. 8 ft. T8 t12. These are the major source for the mercury as they are in every building and have been for 50 yrs or more
CFL lamps use 25000 hz which is very high frequency like radio waves. This causes all kinds of interference with electronic and dirty electricity
Many many folks are harmed by CFLs I can cite case after case- it is more the sensitive and vulnerable but dammit! They count too!
When I’m talking comparison with nuclear ions I’m talking strontium 137. Or cesium 158 or anything unstable which emits gamma or other radiation or neutrons. These Are extremely toxic if ingested. Mercury is much more insidious - you don’t really see the effects right away but it irreversibly binds to places that are supposed to be magnesium and other ions critical for the immune system.
When you look at where mercury is coming from it is Very disingenuous for the EPA to cite power plants and volcanoes which are very far away and all total have made a conc of 1 nano gram per cu mtr. That is 10-9 g
One cfl has 5-20 milligrams. And one t8. Like 40 mg Take one store there might be 1000 t8 lamps. All that need replacing by laypersons once every two or three years. Many break while being removed and replaced
That would be say up to a gram of mercury a year in a confined space
In the back say 10000. cu ft. Or only 400. Cu mtr.
That would be again something like 25 milligrams per cu mtr. Which is 250 000 000 times what the atmospheric conc is. And it doesn’t ever go away so it just chronically poisons folks and they have no idea
the EPA is actively trying to downplay this serious danger and confuse people because they don’t understand either chemistry or epidemiology
Ie dose of the poison and acute vs chronic.
Mercury is a very insidious poison and the greed of the industry and zealousness if the global warming activists knows no bounds
Finally you are correct. LED lights are it. They use computer chips to gernerate photons at 3v dc. The heat mgmt is the major issue but 10 yr warranties are now available.