Skip to comments.Broken Compact Fluorescent Causes Mercury Poisoning (Vapor problem overlooked by RATS)
Posted on 06/13/2008 6:24:37 PM PDT by Libloather
Broken Compact Fluorescent Causes Mercury Poisoning
June 13, 2008
RUSH: To Royse City, Texas. Jonathan, glad you called. Nice to have you here.
CALLER: Yes, thank you. I admire you a lot, and I really love your program.
RUSH: Thank you, sir, very, very, very, very much.
CALLER: I just wanted to tell you about a little incident I had at work with these lightbulbs that all the Democrats and liberals are promoting saying they're better for everybody and --
RUSH: You're talking about the compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
CALLER: That is correct.
RUSH: What happened, were you mandated at work to replace your incandescents with these compact fluorescents?
CALLER: No, sir, not exactly. What happened was, I was straightening stuff on the aisle, and I noticed that one of the boxes had fallen, and I picked it up to look at it, and one of the bulbs was broken on the inside. And there's a little cut-out in the cardboard box, and I realized I inhaled some of the fumes, and I immediately went and placed it in a plastic bag and went --
RUSH: How did you know to do that?
CALLER: Oh, I heard it on your program, of course.
RUSH: You knew that there was mercury in there --
CALLER: I heard it on --
RUSH: -- that is potentially dangerous and if you broke it in your house you call the hazmat people.
CALLER: I heard it on your program, of course.
CALLER: And so, anyway, my eyes started burning immediately, the back of my throat started getting dry and burning.
RUSH: Really? That bulb had already fallen from the shelf, you just happened to walk by and see it?
CALLER: That's correct, and I picked up the box.
RUSH: That had the bulb in it?
CALLER: That's correct. And basically I went to my boss and I said, "Hey, I think something happened. I think we need to make an accident report. And so we had to call a registered nurse through a hotline that we have at our work, and describe my symptoms to the nurse, and she said put your boss back on the phone, and she told my boss to call the paramedics right away and have them come treat me right away at the scene. The ambulance showed up with their truck, and they put me in the ambulance, hooked me up, wires and everything --
RUSH: All this for a broken lightbulb?
CALLER: That's correct. And then they said, "We can't tell you what to do, but you should probably go to the emergency room. They said we can take you or we'll tell your boss to let you go or have somebody take you, however you want to do it, we'll get you there." And they told me that on the way to en route to where I worked they had to call poison control and find out exactly what they were supposed to do because even the paramedics didn't know what they were supposed to do. And what they described to me, they described the wrong kind of lightbulb, they described the really long, like the eight foot long lightbulbs that you would see in a warehouse or --
RUSH: Yeah, the standard fluorescents.
CALLER: Yeah, so anyway I told them I just wanted to go to the emergency room and I'll go by myself. Finally got to the emergency room, and the doctor walked in, he was like, "What makes you think you inhaled mercury vapor?" I was like, "Well, you know," told him about the lightbulb, he basically looked at me and said, "I've never ever seen anybody that's inhaled mercury vapor before. Honestly, I don't know what to tell you. I'm going to have to go look this up in a book. I'll be right back."
RUSH: Now, wait a second.
RUSH: The EMS guys didn't know what to do with mercury poisoning and the doctor didn't?
CALLER: That's correct, the doctor in the emergency room.
RUSH: Where is Royse City, Texas?
CALLER: It's near Rockwall.
RUSH: Oh, well, hell, yes. Okay. Rockwall, Texas. We all know where that is.
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: Okay, by Dallas. So, anyway, he listened to my breathing and everything, make sure I wasn't going to die, and he just said, "There's really nothing I can do for you. There's nothing I can give you or prescribe for you," he said. "I don't even think we have the necessary equipment to run tests if you were dangerously exposed to this stuff here at the hospital. We would have to take blood and mail it somewhere and get the results back in the next day," if I wanted to do that, and I was like, "Okay, that's great."
RUSH: Now, now, Jonathan, I gotta tell you, some people here are listening to this and not believing it.
RUSH: Now, we've heard stories that if you do have a compact fluorescent in your house and if it breaks that you are to call hazmat people, but mercury vapors?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: Mercury vapors. How come it only affected you? Were you the only one in the room?
CALLER: I was the only one on the aisle but as soon as I placed it in the plastic bag, I gave it to the individual who is supposed to defect the item out and seal it up and, you know, keep it protected and it was a short time after that where that individual started hyperventilating and couldn't breathe, and they almost had to call the paramedics back again for her.
RUSH: Well, how long did it take you to recover since nobody could do anything for you?
CALLER: Just a few hours and a pounding headache and some Tylenol.
RUSH: America is at risk here, folks. I didn't have any idea that it was this severe. Ladies and gentlemen, we are not prepared for the coming crisis. Do you feel like you made a sacrifice that nevertheless, Jonathan, was important to help save the planet?
CALLER: No, I do not. I felt endangered.
RUSH: Well, this is an incredible story. I had no idea that it could cause this kind of problem and that the medical community had no idea what to do. Jon, let me make you a suggestion since the medical community was not able to help you by their own admission. EMS guys didn't know what to do; your ER doctor didn't know what to do.
RUSH: Do not stop being monitored.
RUSH: Continue to be monitored long-term.
RUSH: We don't know yet the full effects of this.
CALLER: I hear you.
RUSH: You've been an unwitting guinea pig, but you could perform a service with ongoing, regular monitoring of whatever levels, bodily fluids and this kind of thing. Do you know a good trial lawyer?
CALLER: I don't. I could find one, though.
RUSH: Well, you might call John Edwards.
CALLER: There you go.
RUSH: Outta work.
RUSH: I'm just kidding about the trial lawyer business, but it's like we have a program here, Keep Our Own Kids Safe.
RUSH: And the Keep Our Own Kids Safe program is an awareness program to alert parents to the dangers of soccer, the dangers to damaging the head of these young kids who go out and play, it's far more dangerous than football out there. And I remember I had one guy call me. He didn't think that our program was like worth it, the Keep Our Own Kids Safe program, he thought that it was much ado about nothing, and that I just had a bias against soccer, and he told me that he had been hit repeatedly, playing soccer a lot, he'd had a lot of head shots, he's done a lot of this, and he was no worse the wear. And I said, well, the thing is that the victims are the last to know. I told him to continue to consult family members to tell him if there had been any changes in his behavior, because he admitted to me that he'd been beating himself upside the head with a soccer ball for a long time and he thought he was normal. But the victim is the last to know. You might think you're normal when you're not.
CALLER: I agree.
RUSH: I mean if something like this could happen, a compact fluorescent bulb and the medical community in Rockwall, Texas, does not know how to deal with it, this is frightening be stuff.
CALLER: It is.
RUSH: Well, I'm glad you had the courage to pick up that lightbulb. It was a great act of courage. You saved somebody else from perhaps getting real sick, you saw it, you knew, you knew because you had listened to this program, you took a risk that was sacrificial on your part, and you paid the price.
CALLER: I did.
RUSH: But you have lived to tell the story and to help others survive this kind of tragedy down the road.
CALLER: I did. I hope so.
RUSH: Well, you did. You are to be applauded.
CALLER: Thank you very much.
RUSH: All right, Jonathan. Thank you.
RUSH: I just went to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Jonathan, I don't know how long ago this happened that you got your mercury vapor poisoning out there in Rockwall, Texas, but according to what I have just read on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website, mercury vapors are hazardous. You need to close your store and lock it down. Listen to this: "The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is alerting consumers that mercury vapors (which have no odor) are hazardous. CPSC recommends that consumers avoid breathing mercury vapors." Too late for you, Jonathan. "Most uses of mercury that expose consumers to fumes are banned," except the compact fluorescent lightbulb, which we are being forced, over time, to put in our homes. "However, some ethnic traditions encourage the sprinkling of mercury around the house for religious reasons. This is hazardous because people -- especially young children -- could breathe the mercury vapors. Mercury can cause serious and permanent nerve and kidney damage. Mercury poisoning (acrodynia) has these symptoms: rapid heartbeat, sweating, irritability or hostility, withdrawal or shyness, memory loss, peeling of hands and feet, leg pain, slight hand tremors, difficulty with fine motor control (such as handwriting), sleeplessness, and headaches. Young children and children born to women exposed during pregnancy may be especially sensitive. If you believe you have mercury poisoning, see a doctor. If mercury has been sprinkled in your home, open all windows so the mercury vapors can escape. It may take several days of ventilation to eliminate the mercury. If you have questions about how to clean up and dispose of mercury, call your local health department." They will send the hazmat team. "To avoid mercury poisoning, do not sprinkle mercury around the house or expose people in the home to mercury vapors."
They just put weapons in our hands. You let the word spread on how toxic these lightbulbs are, in the average house, how many arguments take place between husband and wife and the 2.8 kids, somebody gets mad, unscrews the lightbulb and throws it at somebody else. Again, the environmentalist wackos forcing out the incandescent bulb by 2012, you're not going to be allowed to have it, folks, whether you've got turtles on your beach or not.
What would happen if one compact fluorescent was accidentally busted on the Capitol steps? I guess that would be considered a terrorist attack...
Closely related to the Keepers of Odd Knowledge Society.
Will I let one of those compact flourescent lightbulbs into my house? NO! But, please.
Sheesh. As a boy, every time a fever thermometer broke I collected the mercury to play with (20 or more times a CFL’s mercury) and decades later I’m still perfectly fine perfectly fine perfectly fine perfectly fine perfectly fine perfectly fine perfectly fine perfectly fine perfectly fine perf
Congressman Poe (Texas) takes this point up in a speech in the U.S. House: http://youtube.com/watch?v=e-LOtKIIKcg
What a load of BS.
I hate to say it, but this sounds like two cases of hysteria, with Rush feeding the frenzy.
Is he serious about this, or is he joking?
Jonathan Edwards as your trial lawyer if you drop one of these bulbs?
Most bulbs here (except the decorative incandescents) have been replaced with CFLs. The newest are in areas where the color is more important (living room lamps, etc.) the oldest where it isn’t (garage, etc.). Shaded from direct view, we find them perfectly fine.
Me too. I, wait, what were we talking about?
I'm assuming that my pack a day habit is much more dangerous.
This is a bogus, distracting issue.
Those of us that want to engineer a living space that requires the least amount of energy ($$) with good living conditions have been looking at conserving resources (my re$ource$) for a long time.
Energy($$s) saved at home can be expended on the range, and when precision 50BMG rounds from Arizona Ammunition are more than $5US/round... I need to save pennies.
And boy howdy could you get a penny to shine like the dickens by rubbing ... really rubbing that ol’ mercury all over the copper.
Personally I like them but understand that others don’t and they shouldn’t be forced to use them any more than I want to be prevented from using them.
“Sheesh. As a boy, every time a fever thermometer broke I collected the mercury to play with (20 or more times a CFLs mercury)”
There was some common use for mercury, but I don’t remember what. But as a kid, I also remember playing with the stuff and how it’d slide and roll around in your hands, and dropping it from one hand to the other. We also called it quicksilver, and I distinctly remember playing with globs of it as big around as a quarter.
More Chinese junk being pushed down our throats by bought-and-paid-for politicians.
where are you getting LED [HILED or HIOLED] lamps that come anywhere near duplicating the color and intensity of incandescent bulbs?? And for how much??
I knew these were on the development track, but hadn’t yeat heard that any were “ready for prime time.”
This is an interesting account. My experience has been different. I’ve been around quite a few broken fluorescent tubes (the four foot kind) - back when I was working at a hardware store to pay for college, and never encountered symptoms remotely like the ones described.
separatin gold from ore,was one use
My MIL & FIL were both urging my husband and I to get rid of our “regular” light bulbs because it would “save money”. We tried to explain to them the risks associated with these new “compact flourescents”, but they are from Illinois, and they simply wouldn’t believe us because after all the government there had just passed a law about requiring them! *rolls eyes*
Anyway, it’s not just about accidental exposure to a broken bulb that I’m worried about here - what about our landfills and waterways? I don’t recall any special programs being toted out to take care of disposal of these bulbs. The general public has NO CLUE that they even contain mercury to begin with.
Very scary, and just another example of how the liberals (especially politicians) - when something “feels good” or “sounds right” are so quick to jump on the bandwagon.
I have to say here for the record - that when I was a young child (between 7-10?), I broke an old glass thermometer and ended up playing with the “really cool silver beady stuff” that came out (mercury). When my mom entered my room she was HORRIFIED! I must’ve been playing with it for quite some time, I remember rolling it around on my hands watching it bead, ball up and roll off - it was REALLY COOL to tell you the truth...
Anyway, I don’t remember ANY symptoms such as what was described here. I have also told this story to doctors over the years, and as far as anyone can tell I have no lasting damage from this experience either!
Another symptom of mercury oisoning-pay is that written ords-way will sometimes appear as pig latin.
EVERY florescent bulb, including the ones we have been using since I was in grade school 60 years ago, have mercury in them. It is a basic component needed to get the amount of light out of them in an efficient manner. Old fever thermometers and home HVAC systems have much more mercury than the CFLs, and we have been using them for YEARS without all this hysteria!
Our policy is being established by mental midgets!
A gradual adjustment/adaptation phase for the human, and it's amazing what works well.
I don't need 120 lumens when I'm sitting down at night, working on a laptop.
I need 120 lumens when I cook dinner. And the windows work fine. I eat before sundown.
I have a “XXXX” allergy to mercury in any form, including the vapor. For me, it takes the form of a “poison ivy” rash all over my body, which itches agonizingly, and takes several weeks to clear. Needless to say, I try to steer VERY clear of any place where mercury might be present.
They do that. Getting rid of the Sparc5 station saved more, but it makes a big difference here.
And I don't juggle them when I replace the incandescent bulbs. I've never managed to break one.
And if I did... well... nobody, but nobody digs through my trash.
I have catz.
That was a great speech! Thanks for sharing that... I LOVED the look on Tancredo’s face when Roe produced one of those deadly light bulbs!
I would’ve been thinking “Dear God don’t drop it!” ROFL! And, another interesting point is that ALL of these bulbs are made in China... Isn’t that just wonderful? Forget GE, Westinghouse, and other US based companies - let’s just send all our light bulb dollars to the commies! UNBELIEVABLE...
Jonathan Edwards as your trial lawyer if you drop one of these bulbs?
So, tell us, Cicero. When did it first become obvious that you had no sense of humor?
KOOKS, or Keep Our Own Kids Safe, is part of Rush’s entertainment program.
I hope a producer let the guy in on the joke afterward...
Look at all the cities and states which have banned mercury thermometers. They’re the same ones pushing the CFL.
Yes, but do you dispose of them properly? According to the EPA it should be placed in a double plastic bags and brought to your outside garbage can.
And, even if YOU do, are we so naive as to think everyone is going to follow the rules when it comes to disposal. Does anyone have the statistics off hand of compliance with recycling laws already in place in various communities? Much less, VOLUNTARY compliance?
Also, I’m not sure how double-bagging prevents the bags from being ripped open by a broken bulb when thrown into the landfills... It seems that this is a very risky proposal when it comes to our environment, frankly... Not to mention the risk to children, pets, etc... It’s not like these are indestructible, and no matter how careful one is, accidents WILL happen - that’s why they are called accidents.
Run the numbers. Let's say CFLs have 1/20th the mercury of an old fever thermometer (that was true for older ones; modern ones have less and they're working at reducing it further). I'm not sure sure how many CFL lamps we have in this house, but rounding up it's probably in the vicinity of 40. I replaced one this year. The last one to die was about 5 years ago, and I think that was the second to die in the 10 years we've been here. But let's say 5 CFLs died in that 10 years (after all, our usage has increased.)
The amount of mercury from the assumed 5 dead lamps in 10 years is 5 20ths of one fever thermometer, or 1/4th. Which means that the old fever thermometers (one per household) would have to last over than 40 years in order to release less mercury than my CFLs.
I don't know about you, but in my household with a few siblings, a mercury fever thermometer would be lucky to last 5 years and generally didn't. 40 years? Forget it.
It's not A Good Thing to be putting mercury into landfills... but then again landfills themselves are not A Good Thing.
You have to put things in perspective and judge from there. Absolutism is a favorite tool of totalitarians.
And note too that CFLs are a transitional technology; we aren't far from the point where LEDs will make light production from UV-stimulated rare-earth phosphors look as antiqued as electrically-heated metal filaments and carbon-based combustion.
It pretty much spells out that there are certainly some of the dumbest people in in the world running our Congress.
Which part? The mercury vapors don't affect people part? The HAZMAT team part? The emergency room part?
Can you elaborate on what BS you're referring to?
Apparently, you were exposed to the vapors. Good luck with, well, whatever you do...
Read the link I posted farther down in the thread that tells how to clean up after a broken bulb.
Rush is never more dangerous than when he is joking.
It’s his most dangerous weapon.
It’s also why libs don’t get him. They have no sense of humor.
“My God! Rush Limbaugh just said Hillary’s cutting off men’s TESTICLES!”
My husband started stockpiling CFLs a few years ago when he was able to buy them cheap through his employer. He replaced every incandescent in the house with a CFL bulb. I didn’t know about the mercury until recently. We probably broke a few of them and just threw them in the trash, not knowing any better.
A month or so ago, I warned my sons about broken CFLs and what I’d been reading. Days later, one son accidentally knocked over a CFL in our garage, and it broke. He immediately ran out of the garage to tell me. I searched the internet and followed the directions, airing out the garage for 15 minutes before scooping it up and wiping the surface. But I wasn’t as careful as required. Both my son and I are fine. We had no reactions at all.
I find the caller’s story just too incredible.
(FTR, I do oppose the gov’t telling us we have to buy them.)
Suppose the government decides that this mercury problem from compact fluorescents was a major problem. Suppose a home owner had to get government clearance of mercury levels in ones household before one could sell a house. Imagine that such home inspections would cost the home owner big hefty fees for someone to come out and wave their high tech detectors around. If mercury were found, imagine the cost to decontaminate the house. Imagine if this inspection was required for renters before they could leave a rental and the inspection fee and possible decontamination fee was included in the rental deposit. This is a case of how the government is setting up the public for huge costs much like people in years past painted their homes with lead based paints, only to find out later they had a toxic material to clean up.
It says - The study recommended that if a compact fluorescent breaks, get children and pets out of the room. Ventilate the room.
Is that the end of mercury VAPORS? And since when should anyone trust the Boston Globe? RATS will kill.
Should I call the hazmat team? Granted, it's been about 40 years... Hey, maybe "elemental mercury" is more dangerous now than it was then! Sort of like how a guy at work keeps telling me that the ethanol made from sugar cane is better for your car than the ethanol made from corn or other sources. I tried to convince him that "ethanol is ethanol," but no go.
Me too. In high school chemistry and college geology. We rolled those little balls of Mercury all over the place!
Me too. In high school chemistry and college geology. We rolled those little balls of Mercury all over the place!
A point to be made; POSSIBLY, if a compact or even old tube flourescent is broken while burning, MAYBE you have a problem with vapors, in operation, the mercury is vaporized.
Otra vez, I’m one of those brats grown old who used to collect mercury because it was fun to play with. We used to make “silver” pennies, bit of a trick, because at room temp, mercury has a hellacious surface tension. One had to press the bead of mercury onto the penny without having it squirt out one side, best I recall, we made a dent in the thumb with a pencil eraser, something like that.
Of course, the mercury poisoning I suffered then probably accounts for why I can’t remember something I knew at age six. Seriously, all the boys in my class played with the stuff. One guy had found his Dad’s stash, stole some out of the jar. Fairly valuable commodity, 76 lb. flask was trading today at about $550.00.
Like all heavy metals, mercury is toxic, especially hard on the nervous system, if ingested. Ye ol’ “mad hatter” was a common term for an age when mercury was used, with heat, in hat making.
BTW, I went to CF bulbs for about 3/4 of the house years ago, saves money and I seldom replace bulbs. Not worth a hoot for reading light, and they don’t respond to rheostat dimmers, but I haven’t changed the front porch light in ten years.
In the meantime I'm buying a huge supply of incandescent bulbs. I'm NOT bringing those things into MY house!
Remember the “Mad Hatter” in Alice and Wonderland? Hatters often suffered from mdaness because they used mercury in the top hat making process.
It's called hysteria. Really dangerous.... spreads like wildfire in ignorant boobs... like this guy and the one who sealed the baggie.