Friday, February 16, 2007

Problem with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

NPR had a piece about a problem with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs which are currently being promoted by the EPA to conserve energy.

While I encourage everyone to use CFLs in order to conserve energy, here's a word of caution; DO NOT throw them in the trash when the bulbs burn out, they contain Mercury, a neurotoxin, which contaminates the soil and groundwater, and is harmful to our health.

Please read the instructions on the package label to determine how to dispose/recycle CFL bulbs properly.
The Environmental Protection Agency and some large business, including Wal-Mart, are aggressively promoting the sale of compact fluorescent light bulbs as a way to save energy and fight global warming. They want Americans to buy many millions of them over the coming years.

But the bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, a neurotoxin, and the companies and federal government haven't come up with effective ways to get Americans to recycle them.

NPR : CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch: Toxic Mercury


J. Petty said...

This is a ridiculous statement!

The mercury within a compact fluorescent is minuscule compared to the mercury in a four foot and eight foot fluorescent linear bulb that are being used all over the world for years. By cutting energy consumption we are less dependant on coal plants that pump tons of toxins into the air. Could this same argument be applicable to hybrid cars or electric cars that use batteries that “could” be disposed of improperly by the consumer? CFL’s are good for the consumers and the environment overall. I agree that there should be a disposal method for these types of bulbs – maybe Walmart or other big business retails should offer a recycling program – but to question on whether consumers should use them or not because of the waste’s is really unrealistic for the environment as a whole.

I have been in the lighting business for 20 years and have seen the evolution of the CFL and think that they are a wonderful replacement to incandescent bulbs that are sucking massive amounts of energy which in turn are making power companies build more coal plants all over the US and the world.

Here is a comment that I made concerning the CFL’s and how to choose the right light for your home.


What I have found that the key to liking the light is directly associated to the brand bulb you buy. It is all about color temperature. Some brands cast a “white” light that is not easy on the eyes - what you want to look for are bulbs that truly produce 2700K.

At, we sell nearly every brand out there but I can absolutely say that what you want in your house is TCP brand. TCP is the largest producer of CFL’s in the world and from our experience as a distributor; we believe they are the closest to producing true 2700K. Whether you buy them from us is your choice but it makes me sick when I go into someone’s house and their yellow walls turned green - simply because of the color temp that the CFL produce.

Another option is Cold Cathode technology. These are lower wattage bulbs that produce a nice yellow light and come in a variety of designs. They work great in lamps that you want to leave on all the time. I have them in lamps in our house and they never go off… and I can unscrew them at any point with our burning my hand thus producing less heat in the home. They take a while to warm up but they are great for the environment because of the extremely low wattage and they cast a good light. Here is a link if you want to check them out.

We all want everyone to convert to CFL’s or LED’s or even the newest technology Cold Cathode bulbs BUT we all need to have a good experience when we plug them in AND actually like the light output. If any of you need or want to learn more go to then click the home icon in the center of the page - we have put some pretty informative stuff on there, even an energy savings calculator.

I know that this sounds like I am selling BUT I want everyone to have a good experience with a conversion to low wattage CFL’s whether or not they buy them from SOS is really up to you. I think Home Depot is carrying a decent line of CFL’s that we have tested if you would prefer to buy them there.

What is ultimately important is that we all try to conserve where we can and be less dependant on power companies to produce more and more energy through environmentally unfriendly means such as coal plants.

Rajesh Nidwannaya said...

Thanks for the comments.

I am not saying you shouldn't use CFL bulbs. On the contrary, I encourage people to use them and be more energy efficient. My point is this, don't throw them in the trash, read the labels and dispose them off properly.

Recycling hazardous material is another way to play nice with the environment.