Friday, February 16, 2007

Yesterday NPR had an interesting story on mercury in those compact fluorescent lightbulbs (you know those odd shaped spiral bulbs that promise to reduce energy use.)

Who knew, unless they read the not-so-fine-print that says : LAMP CONTAINS MERCURY; Manage in Accord with Disposal Laws; See But really, who has time to read when they're struggling just to open the plastic packaging without breaking the bulb?!

Anyway, there's lots of good information on the NPR site on amounts of mercury (small - according to the Energy Star site, which says that if a bulb breaks getting cut by a shard of glass poses a greater risk than the potential for exposure to mercury), and what to do to dispose of the bulbs (check out, which shouldn't be an immediate problem since they're supposed to last for five years or 8,000 hours. That's right - five years, and if they don't, all you have to do is send in your receipt and UPC (UP-what? And, where are those receipts?!)

But the bottom line, as noted by the EPA is that in the end, using these bulbs (in addition to other measures reducing electricity use) could help reduce overall emissions of mercury, since coal, one of the most common fuels for electricity production, is one of the major sources of mercury released into the environment.

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