Light Bulb Lunacy!

United States
May 1, 2009 12:58pm CST
I put this in the politics section because it relates to government - it will soon (if not already) be required that ALL lightbulbs purchased and used in the US will be the "environmentally friendly" CFL lightbulbs, you know, the ones that last a really really long time instead of the old fashioned type with the little filament inside. They are supposed to be so great for the planet because they don't use as much electricity and all, but are they REALLY that great? Have you ever seen what the proper procedure is for when you accidentally BREAK one of them? It stops just short of calling in a HazMat team! See below for the directions for cleaning up a broken CFC lighbulb straight from the EPA's website: (if I can't fit it all below, I'll add the rest after somebody posts a response so I can post again in this discussion) http://www.epa.gov/hg/spills/#fluorescent [b] What to Do if a Fluorescent or Other Mercury-Containing Light Bulb Breaks[/b] Before Clean-up: Air Out the Room * Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out. * Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. * Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces * Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. * Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. * Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag. * Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug * Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. * Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. * If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken. * Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag. Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials * If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage. * You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb. * If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal. Disposal of Clean-up Materials * Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup. * Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials. * Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center. Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming * The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming. * Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed. *** Me again - all this is reuqired because those "environmentally friendly" light bulbs contain mercury, you remember mercury, right? Mercury is a very dangerous POISON. Those bulbs don't look so freaking friendly now, do they? Have you ever broken a fluorescent light bulb? Did you follow the extensive government procedure for cleanup?
6 people like this
20 responses
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
7 May 09
Hmmm..... ( fumbles through boxes & pulls out an old haz-mat suit ) Looks like I found a new line of work. "Broken bulbs... glass & mercury everywhere... Whatever will you do? Call Uaths bulb disposal team. When quality count's remember - It's the bulb not the bill that's important " $$$$$$$$$$
2 people like this
• United States
7 May 09
You'll make millions AND have something besides plague rats to catapult!
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
7 May 09
Glass & mercury covered rats- OUTCH!
2 people like this
• United States
1 May 09
I personally think the whole clean up thing is overhyped. I've broken several of them and just swept up the shards and I'm not growing an extra foot or anything due to the mercury. It's about the same as breaking an old glass thermometer. Just clean it up and wash your hands. Obviously when cleaning up any glass use protection on your hands to prevent shards. I know that some people over react to a lot of stuff. I think the President has a secret overreacting committee that takes every day things and then twists them so the public over reacts on the slightest thing.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
P.S. We can't blame the EPA cleanup directions on the new President, this information was up since before he took office.
• United States
4 May 09
LMAO I enjoy reading this. I really do. I can't tell you how many times my mother sent my brother or me to pick up a thermometer we dropped or she dropped and it broke and shattered. Maybe that's why I'm so nuts. Mercury poisoning! Move over Mad Hatter!
1 person likes this
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
1 May 09
I, too, think, it's a really bad trade-off and just causing another danger down the road. Yes, we safe energy, but the possible pollution risk is so much bigger. Do you really think people will go through proper disposal procedures? They'll forget all about it by the time the darn thing burned out. Then, just as with the current ones, it's in the regular trash with it. We'll eventually find stuff like that in water supplies, animals... there is already enough mercury in fish to make it dangerous to eat too much fish... Not a good idea. But the lobbyists always get their way...
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
If you get it on your clothing, you are instructed to THROW THOSE CLOTHES OUT! Who in this economy can really afford to throw their clothes away it he trash?
• United States
1 May 09
Think about how many light bulbs get broke by people every day much less every year?
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
I have a nerve disorder that causes me to drop things ALL THE TIME, it also screws up my fine motor skills so not only do I have a high likelihood of breaking those things, it would also be VERY difficult if not impossible for me to properly and safely clean them up.
• United States
7 May 09
yikes..i already have a bunch of old tubes i can't get rid of,let alone these (our state doesn't want them).. i do have a couple of the new ones..none have broke yet thank god.but that's a royal pain in the butt routine just to clean one up..
1 person likes this
• United States
7 May 09
Yeah it is! I want to know why they are incapable of making a long lasting lightbulb WITHOUT deadly mercury and lead? I mean, how hard can it be?
1 person likes this
• United States
7 May 09
they probably make more money out of it somehow.that's usually why they don't do something.probably the closest thing to non-mercury is LED lights,but most people wouldn't bother with those.
1 person likes this
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
5 May 09
Grrr...I keep turning you off and on my friends list thinking that might help since I can't get an email when you start a discussion! I'm beginning to get mad about it. Anyway, I hate this new thing with lightbulbs, I heard it within the last 2 years and my husband and I have been buying every single "old fashion" bulb while they are on sale because I suffer from migraines and those new "friendly" bulbs bring on my migraines. I get irrated by the fluorescent bulbs. This change is the only change I don't like LOL
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
You're a terrible liberal. LOL What's a little mercury poisoning or fluorescent induced headaches when you're doing something "green"?
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
9 Sep 09
I told you my politics is screwy...My husband told me to just start buying the "old" lightbulbs by the cases until we have enough to take me for a life time LOL
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 09
This is definately a point we'll agree on. I've used the so called energy saving bulbs, and it didn't cut down on my electric bill. Of course, maybe they've thought this through and maddhatters will soon return to the forefront? Who wouldn't want a maddhatter at their teaparty? Namaste-Anora
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 09
LOL, I'd actually like to see the Cheshire cat. I can't even blame the new president for this stuff, it was all put up under the Bush administration and I think it was also his administration that made the big push for us to all switch to the CFL bulbs. If I break one of those things I am not goign to freak out too much, considering the fact that I am surrounded by hazardous materials every day of my life, including having my well water contaminated by a gasoline additive and my husband is a mechanic who comes home every day with chemicals, motor oil and asbestos (brake pads are made from asbestos) on his clothes which I get to handle when I do the laundry. You know, when my dad was alive he always pined for "the good old days", he did not like modern society - to him the best times we ever had were in the 50s. I am turning into him, except I pine for the Reagan era 1980s. LOL One day I'll be telling my daughter and son about filament light bulbs, vinyl records, big powerful cars hairspray and they will look at me as if I am insane - just like I did to my poor father. I also find myself yelling at the TV news, just like he did. I thought women were supposed to turn into their moms when they got older? LOL I never much cared for politics until a few years ago either, always voted but I wasn't one to argue my point of view. However, I have ALWAYS managed to veer off topic!
• United States
2 May 09
LOL. I know the feeling. I mean, I have a lot of modern things, but some things are just too much. I don't like the new bulbs. I don't like how complicated the darn phone has become. And I still collect vinyls lol. Just bought two old John Coltrane records the other day. A few of us parents were talking in class not too long ago about how much this world has changed since we were kiddos. I mean, I can remember walking almost a mile to get home from various schools, alone. Today? We'd not think of letting our child play alone in the front yard let alone walk to school that far by themselves. It's just kind of a shame. Namaste-Anora
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
Well those "required" light bulbs are actually dangerous. Especially if you have small children. They have lead and mercury in them. If htey break very fine particles of lead and mercury will get on EVERYTHING. Which is poisonous to small kids. And you know small kids. They touch everything and always put things and their hands in their mouths. These light bulbs may be better on energy...but they are bad for your health.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
With all the hysteria over vaccinations that may have mercury in them (although you can now get mercury free versions) and the possible link to autism and the alarming incidence of lead poisoning in children (which causes proven PERMANENT and cumulative damage) you'd think that people would raise the alarm about these DANGEROUS light bulbs that we'll be FORCED to use!
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
yep I agree.
2 people like this
@missybear (11396)
• United States
7 May 09
They should come with a pair of safety goggles when you buy them
1 person likes this
• United States
7 May 09
Yeah, and a "clean suit" and a HEPA mask!
@makingpots (11922)
• United States
6 May 09
I KNOW, it's crazy isn't it? I haven't broken one yet.... knock on wood. I only have a few in my house. I was not aware that govt. was trying to regulate the use of them.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
5 months later, I hope you still haven't broken any!
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
5 May 09
Here, here! I'm so with you on this. I did an article once for Associated Content some months back about these "wonderful" CFL bulbs and after reading all about them wouldn't go near them with a hundred foot pole. One can't dispose of them normally, that is in regular trash, and yes I especially read the part that if one breaks them one has to practically fumigate the entire home...The government BETTER not enforce everyone to change over to these bulbs, cause I sure as heck ain't going to get them....If the govt does cram this down our throats, well gee, will I be considered a felon if I use regular bulbs and jailed?
1 person likes this
• United States
5 May 09
I'll get into trouble when I have my family overseas ship me their lightbulbs or have relatives smuggle them in here when they travel out of country.
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
3 May 09
I want to be pro-choice with my home lighting. Keep your laws off my light switch. At first all I bought was fluorescent bulbs not because I wanted to save the planet but I thought I would save a few bucks in the long run. Those bulb do not last as long as they clam and being that they are ten times the cost, a year off it's life does make a difference. Even if CFL's did last as long as they say I still do not think they would save enough money for paying that much for those bulbs. I have been stock piling up the old style bulbs for even they become legal. As to them braking that has never happen to me at home, but I used to work for Walmart. All the lighting at Walmart is fluorescent, and if one went out we had specific procedures to had them. Good grief what a pain.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 May 09
I agree with you, you make some good points! I wonder how much carbon we're adding to our "footprints" when we have to drive to a special facility to drop these suckers off? I'm glad to see Walmart does follow safety procedure - for all those who say they are so evil, at least Walmart is properly caring for hazardous materials to protect the employees and shoppers!
• United States
2 May 09
This reminds me of the whole Plastic Grocery bag thing. All the bunnie humpers were like 'stop killing the trees, use plastic bags'. They didn't think about where all those bags would go (or that we could grow more trees). They were manipulated by the big chemical companies. Now, the same thing is happening with the bulbs. Hazmat is being introduced into our houses courtesy of the the federal gov't. And now it will cost us money to dispose of these bulbs. I wonder if the cost of disposal will still make these bulbs cost effective. Who is going to pick up the tab for all this mercury disposal and cleanup? Maybe a company who has been lobbying the 0bama admin and dumbacratic party?
1 person likes this
• United States
7 May 09
LMAO @ "bunny humpers"! You're right about the bags, paper or plastic doesn't matter - cut down a forest or 10,000 years in a landfill, neither seems like good options and i buy too many danged groceries to be able to afford all the cloth sacks they want us to use! Beside, I re-use the plastic and paper bags for other stuff anyway.
@albert2412 (1782)
• United States
2 May 09
We have been stocking up on old fashioned lightbulbs so that we will not have to use the new awful cfl lightbulbs. We do not want our house poluted with mercury if we break a lightbulb, expecially since our son became autistic as a result of mercury in the vaccine. I would advise everyone to stock up noe while you can on the old fashioned lightbulbs beofre you can not buy them anymore. They are not going to sell the old fashioned lightbulbs forever. Albert
1 person likes this
• United States
7 May 09
When I first saw that the bulbs had mercury in them, I actually thought of you and your son. You're right, the old fashioned bulbs won't be available at all for much longer.
@Eskimo (2317)
2 May 09
Kitty, no wonder you are angry. Ordinary 'Safe' light bulbs are being banned in all countries in the EEC (including U.K.), and it is now very difficult to get ordinary ones. I haven't seen any information on Mercury-free light bulbs, but the new ones cannot be put in with the ordinary domestic rubbish for collection, they have to be taken to designated waste disposal points (this makes a nonsense of them having a lower carbon footprint'. The other problem with this type of bulb is that they flicker at the herz rate (50 times/minute in U.K. 60/minute in U.S - I think), this can have an effect on epileptics. Also the colour is much worse for humans than the old bulbs are, with a different colour spectrum, this increases the risk for people getting depressed. Bring back ordinary light bulbs.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 09
The light fixture n my dining room has those new bulbs in it, and they occasionally flicker very badly which gives me a nauseous migraine headache if I leave them on while I am in the room, so I usually sit there in the dark to read my paper. :(
@LiveLove (445)
• United States
2 May 09
There is mercury is those light bulbs? I have to tell my family to get those out of the house. I can't believe that they are so caught up in the "protect the Earth" frenzy (marketing scheme) that they go through almost every year that they would further put families at risk. I guess that is the only way to save the Earth...by killing the people! Thanks AngryKitty, for the information. I have to make some calls.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 May 09
I'm glad to help spread awareness about things that seem innocuous but may actually be very dangerous.
@kareng (7980)
• United States
2 May 09
Well I have to say that I love the new bulbs. They last 5 x longer than the old things and don't blow out every month or every other month. That being said, I've never had one of the new environmentally friendly bulbs break, whereas on the old ones every now and then they would break off when screwing them in or so thin that if you accidentaly bumped one it shattered into a zillion pieces. I've been using these bulbs for over 5 years and have been replacing old bulbs as they go out. I think we just about had all the bulbs replaced in our old house before we moved last August. Now we are starting the replacement cycle all over again. They cost a little more but well worth it in the long run. There are now off-brand bulbs that cost around $4.50 to $5.00 instead of the initial $10 pricetag they had on these babies. I love them and will never go back. I think that is pretty good odds that I haven't had one break in over 5 years. I'll worry about that WHEN it happens. As for the government requiring the use of these bulbs, what do you expect? Obama wants a socialistic nation. It is all downhill from hereout. He's running the automobile industry, the banking and finance industry. Soon he will be running your life 100%---and you can include ruining your life.
• United States
7 May 09
We have the bulbs here too, I like the fact that I rarely ever have to change them, but now I am all freaked out about breaking them. LOL You're right about the danged government too. We're so freaking screwed!
@deejean06 (1953)
• United States
1 May 09
Hi AngryKitty...I actually saw this on the Glenn Beck program I believe last week. It was hilarious in a sense because it was so detailed and not eco friendly at all. However I did not know that the bulbs contained mercury - I actually thought I was doing something better for the environment since I was purchasing bulbs which used less electricity. It was a huge surprise!
• United States
1 May 09
I first heard about it on Beck too, but missed half the show (screaming kids) so I figured I'd look it up for myself. There is lead in them too, in addition to mercury. We have them here in my house, for the same reason as you, to save on electricity and not have to change them so much since I am short and can't reach the ceiling lights without standing on something. Luckily Hubby is tall so I myself have not had to change a light bulb in years, but if I had to, there's a pretty good chance I'd break it (nerve disorder that screws up my hands).
1 person likes this
@jwfarrimond (4474)
1 May 09
I changed all of my light bulbs for the low energy bulbs 8 or 9 years ago. I did so because it would save me money not because I was interested in saving the environment or the planet, I think that old mother earth is perfectly capable of looking after and saving herself. I've never broken one, but then I've not had to touch them for the best part of a decade apart from the one in the dining room. That failed last year after being in for about 8 years.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
Let's hope you never do have a broken one now that we know how dangerous it can be and how complicated the cleanup is.
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
1 May 09
This will be another Government SNAFU. They rush in to solve the problem and end up killing the patient. Remember the Ethanol situation. Congress rushed through a law only to find it drove food prices out of site for small countries. If you break a CF Light bulb and don't properly clean it up and sell your house Can the new buyer sue you for failure to disclose a hazardous Chemical Spill? I bought some and found out that they don't last as long as they say. If you use them in a basement or outside they take longer to "warm" up and work, so when we are going some place and will return home I leave them on in the garage so that we have light to see when we get home. Is that making good use of resources. I live in a cold climate where we would welcome some global warming.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
Speaking of gasoline and government bungling, where I live in NY, they had added MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) to gasoline to make it burn cleaner or something some years ago. Know what happened? It got into our freaking water supply and MY well was one of the ones that was giving us poison drinking water. We'd been drinking it and bathing in it for a couple of years before the EPA tested for it, and then after they found it we had to filter all our drinking water, but we were still washing ourselves and our clothing in it! If I get cancer, I'm suing. Eventually after a couple of years our well started testing "clean" as in free of this chemical since they stopped putting it in the gasoline, and also since the underground water system flushed it downstream somewhere to where I am sure it is now somebody else's problem. Another genius fuel move by the government gone bad!
@irishidid (8563)
• United States
1 May 09
This compared to the old fashioned light bulb, where your biggest risk was ending up with that one piece you missed cleaning up finding its way to your bare foot. I've never had to wear a hazmat suit before.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 09
Or you'd have it break off in the socket and need a potato to get it out. LOL If that happened now you'd have to get a whole team of environmental specialists to remove ti from the socket!
1 person likes this