I heard a radio commercial last week that involved two junior high school aged kids. One pointed out to the other that they weren't using energy saving light bulbs in their bedroom (I don't know about you, but energy saving light bulbs are the LAST thing ANY of my kids are thinking about...especially around their friends!). The 'guilty' kid at first tried to say that this really wasn't his room and then proceeded to try a few other
The biggest irritant is the lie surrounding these light bulbs. Have you actually sat down and read the packaging on the side? Probably not...after all, why would we? I'm pretty sure none of us needs to read instructions on how to install a light bulb, but you should...here's what it says:
'Brandy Bridges, of Prospect, Maine, heard the claims of government officials, environmentalists and retailers like Wal-Mart all pushing the idea of replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving and money-saving compact fluorescent lamps.
So, last month, Brandy went out and bought two dozen CFLs and began installing them in her home. One broke. A month later, her daughter's bedroom remains sealed off with plastic like the site of a hazardous materials accident, while Bridges works on a way to pay off a $2,000 estimate by a company specializing in environmentally sound cleanups of the mercury inside the bulb. With the Environmental Protection Agency promoting CFLs as the greatest thing since, well, the light bulb, consumers have been left in the dark about a problem that we will all face eventually – how to get rid of the darn things when they burn out or, worse yet, break.
CFLs are all the rage. They are the spirally shaped, long-lasting bulbs everyone is being urged, cajoled and guilt-tripped into purchasing to replace Thomas Edison's incandescents, which are being compared to SUV’s for their impracticality and energy inefficiency. However, there is no problem disposing of incandescents when their life is over. You can throw them in the trash can and they won't hurt the garbage collector. They won't leak deadly compounds into the air or water. They won't kill people working in the landfills. The same cannot be said about the mercury-containing CFLs. They bear disposal warnings on the packaging. But with limited recycling prospects and the problems experienced by Brandy Bridges sure to be repeated millions of times, some think government, the green community and industry are putting the cart before the horse marketing the new technology so ferociously.
Consider her plight...When the bulb she was installing in a ceiling fixture of her 7-year-old daughter's bedroom crashed to the floor and broke into the shag carpet, she wasn't sure what to do. Knowing about the danger of mercury, she called Home Depot, who sold her the bulbs.
According to the Ellison American, the store warned her not to vacuum the carpet and directed her to call the poison control hotline in Prospect, Maine. Poison control staffers suggested she call the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
The latter sent over a specialist to test the air in her house for mercury levels. While the rest of the house was clear, the area of the accident was contaminated above the level considered safe. The specialist warned Bridges not to clean up the bulb and mercury powder by herself – recommending a local environmental cleanup firm. That company estimated the cleanup cost, conservatively, at $2,000. And, no, her homeowners insurance won't cover the damage.
Since she could not afford the cleanup, Bridges has been forced to seal off her daughter's bedroom with plastic to avoid any dust blowing around. Not even the family pets are permitted in to the bedroom. Her daughter is forced to sleep downstairs in an overcrowded household.
She has continued to call public officials for help – her two U.S. senators included. So far, no one is beating down Bridges' door to help – not even Al Gore, whose Academy Award-winning movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," urges everyone to change to CFLs to save the planet from global warming.'
The whole world, it seems, fearing global warming, is gearing up to ban the incandescent light bulb. It started in Cuba, moved to Venezuela, then Australia, Canada and the European Union. Now individual states in the U.S., including California, Connecticut, North Carolina and Rhode Island, are all in the process of legislating an end to Edison's greatest invention.
The issue with the incandescent is that it uses more energy to produce light. Advocates of CFLs say they save money and energy by producing more light over more time for less money and less energy. They prefer to minimize concerns about cleanup and disposal, usually saying more needs to be done in the area of recycling.
So, in weighing energy and ecological responsibility against the saftey and welfare of my family, well...I guess I'm just not 'green' enough.
THAT is the real Inconvenient Truth!