Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 2007 Energy Independence Act was crafted by General Electric (whose post-Fukushima motto is "We Make The World Glow!") lobbyists in such a way tha

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But keep this in mind. When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he didn't need legislation to ban candles and oil lamps as fire hazards to force people to buy his product; the public instantly saw it was a major step forward. Such is not the case with the compact fluorescent bulb.

It is very expensive compared to its tungsten ancestor. And while glass and tungsten are very stable materials that are harmless in landfills, compact fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, toxic chemicals in the electronic components, and a radioisotope used in the ignition system to create an ionization path for the electric arc.

When broken, they are a health hazard.

General Electric's calculations showing that the compact fluorescent bulbs meet the requirements of the 2007 Energy Independence Act are based on a 5 year lifespan, but the real world experience is that the bulbs simply do not last anywhere near that long, necessitating constant and costly replacements.

And despite warnings on the packages, most people do not dispose of burned out compact fluorescent bulbs as hazardous waste; they just toss them in the trash, destined for a landfill, where the mercury and radioisotopes will them leach into the ground water.


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