Congress to mandate use of China’s mercury-filled Compact Flourescent Bulbs?

Yeah, I thought it was crazy too. Until I watched the following video of Representative Ted Poe actually giving it to the House regarding the hazards of Compact Flourescent (CFL) bulbs, and how Americans should not be forced to use them.

Check out my article titled “CFLs: Are We Insane?” This video, a great follow-up to my article, was posted by BrasscheckTV, and made by CSPANJunkie.

A Texas Congressional Representative actually gets it! Outlawing incandescent light-bulbs and mandating that the public use toxic, mercury-filled CFLs that are only manufactured in China might just be a tad on the insane side!


17 Responses

  1. > Yeah, I thought it was crazy too. Until I watched the following video of Representative Ted Poe actually giving it to the House regarding the hazards of Compact Flourescent (CFL) bulbs, and how Americans should not be forced to use them.

    Are you that ignorant or naive to believe a congress critter?

    Older florescent bulbs contained beryllium which is just as toxic as mercury. The amount of mercury is very little and poses no dramatic danger to anyone or land fill. To the best of my knowledge most light bulbs of any type are no longer made in this country. Stop with the promotion of the anti Chinese shit. The abolition of the incandescent bulbs is a very good idea. The EPA’s bullshit is just that and can safely be ignored. They should be treated as any florescent bulb.

  2. Don’t you even care about the fact that we are being mandated to use a CFL bulb that can only be purchased from China, that contains mercury? And that this mercury, when released from the bulb due to breakage, can harm you and your family?

    What else will you do to comply with the global control agenda that is in the guise of environmentalism? THINK! It is not about “friendly” green mercury bulbs, it is about control.

    No, I will not use the little toxic time-bombs, even if mandated to do so.

    One doesn’t even have to visit the EPA site to find out just how toxic mercury is.

  3. I don’t want to be rude but you are sounding like an hysterical alarmist who is easily manipulated by the far right.

    —Might I suggest you do some scientific thinking and reasoning:.Do reasonable risk assessment!

    Ask yourself some questions: —What is the level of natural mercury in the environment? —

    How much more mercury would be contributed by the disposal of mercury in land fills assuming no recycling and let us say a 10 year period or a hundred year period nation wide.

    Sorry but you are talking about so little mercury that it is likely to have zero effect on anyone in the real world.

    The only people at risk from mercury poisoning are the workers making the bulbs and the people extracting the mercury.

    I remember as a kid playing with mercury. It was great fun. You probably never had the opportunity.

    Really, learn more about mercury. It is not that scary. By the way, if you swallow pure mercury (not a compound) it will not likely harm you at all as it doesn’t get absorbed in the intestinal tract to the best of my knowledge..



    1.4 How can mercury enter and leave my body?

    A person can be exposed to mercury from breathing in contaminated air, from swallowing or eating contaminated water or food, or from having skin contact with mercury. Not all forms of mercury easily enter your body, even if they come in contact with it; so it is important to know which form of mercury you have been exposed to, and by which route (air, food, or skin).

    When you swallow small amounts of metallic mercury, for example, from a broken oral thermometer, virtually none (less than 0.01%) of the mercury will enter your body through the stomach or intestines, unless they are diseased. Even when a larger amount of metal mercury (a half of a tablespoon, about 204 grams) was swallowed by one person, very little entered the body. When you breathe in mercury vapors, however, most (about 80%) of the mercury enters your bloodstream directly from your lungs, and then rapidly goes to other parts of your body, including the brain and kidneys. Once in your body, metallic mercury can stay for weeks or months. When metallic mercury enters the brain, it is readily converted to an inorganic form and is “trapped” in the brain for a long time. Metallic mercury in the blood of a pregnant woman can enter her developing child. Most of the metallic mercury will accumulate in your kidneys, but some metallic mercury can also accumulate in the brain. Most of the metallic mercury absorbed into the body eventually leaves in the urine and feces, while smaller amounts leave the body in the exhaled breath.

    Inorganic mercury compounds like mercurous chloride and mercuric chloride are white powders and do not generally vaporize at room temperatures like elemental mercury will. If they are inhaled, they are not expected to enter your body as easily as inhaled metallic mercury vapor. When inorganic mercury compounds are swallowed, generally less than 10% is absorbed through the intestinal tract; however, up to 40% may enter the body through the stomach and intestines in some instances. Some inorganic mercury can enter your body through the skin, but only a small amount will pass through your skin compared to the amount that gets into your body from swallowing inorganic mercury.

    Once inorganic mercury enters the body and gets into the bloodstream, it moves to many different tissues. Inorganic mercury leaves your body in the urine or feces over a period of several weeks or months. A small amount of the inorganic mercury can be changed in your body to metallic mercury and leave in the breath as a mercury vapor. Inorganic mercury accumulates mostly in the kidneys and does not enter the brain as easily as metallic mercury. Inorganic mercury compounds also do not move as easily from the blood of a pregnant woman to her developing child. In a nursing woman, some of the inorganic mercury in her body will pass into her breast milk.

    Methylmercury is the form of mercury most easily absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract (about 95% absorbed). After you eat fish or other foods that are contaminated with methylmercury, the methylmercury enters your bloodstream easily and goes rapidly to other parts of your body. Only small amounts of methylmercury enter the bloodstream directly through the skin, but other forms of organic mercury (in particular dimethylmercury) can rapidly enter the body through the skin. Organic mercury compounds may evaporate slowly at room temperature and may enter your body easily if you breathe in the vapors. Once organic mercury is in the bloodstream, it moves easily to most tissues and readily enters the brain. Methylmercury that is in the blood of a pregnant woman will easily move into the blood of the developing child and then into the child’s brain and other tissues. Like metallic mercury, methylmercury can be changed by your body to inorganic mercury. When this happens in the brain, the mercury can remain there for a long time. When methylmercury does leave your body after you have been exposed, it leaves slowly over a period of several months, mostly as inorganic mercury in the feces. As with inorganic mercury, some of the methylmercury in a nursing woman’s body will pass into her breast milk.

  5. > Don’t you even care about the fact that we are being mandated to use a CFL

    Well if you and many others don’t switch to cfl’s then you are hurting my rights —to not to go to war for oil or whatever. Don’t tell me about alternatives because they don’t exist now

    > bulb that can only be purchased from China,

    Says who? And forever? And so what?

    > that contains mercury?

    So what?

    > And that this mercury, when released from the bulb due to breakage, can harm you and your family?

    So be careful and follow the recommended clean up procedures. You never dropped a florescent bulb before?

  6. By the way, I don’t think they should be mandated. The cost savings is so great that most people will switch of their own volition.

  7. I found the following which might further help people decide

    There’s no need to panic if you break a CFL. Most bulbs are damaged when they’re cold, and the mercury is likely to adhere to the bulb’s debris. To be safe, ventilate the area. Using rubber or latex cloves — the kitchen variety should be fine — carefully gather up the ballast and broken glass with disposable paper towels. Wipe the floor carefully with more paper toweling, then double bag everything in Ziploc bags. Dispose as hazardous waste.

    As a point of interest, CFLs can actually reduce the amount of mercury released each year into the environment. Half of the power in the United States is generated by coal-fired plants. Burning coal releases mercury into the atmosphere — about 10 milligrams over the life of an average incandescent bulb. Because of its superior efficiency, a CFL will only be responsible for about 2.5 milligrams. Even if you add the 4 milligrams contained in the typical CFL (which is fully recoverable by recycling), a CFL is actually responsible for putting less mercury into the wild than its incandescent equivalent.

  8. This is one reason I love the Internet, I can find a topic that interests me and I can go and explore it more. One additional thing I found out was that a number of cities and electric companies are giving away the bulbs free to encourage their use. They hope that reduced draw in the summer time will lesson the likelihood of blackouts.


  10. Lewis,

    Let’s stop throwing around accusations such as “right-winger” and “left-winger” and stick to the subject, Mercury.

    Yes, we used to play with Mercury globules. We also use to think DDT was okay too, as well as lead paint. Now we know they are not. Here is an excerpt from an article posted by Family Circle Magazine:

    Mercury Poisoning:
    The Hidden Danger in Your Home
    Dan Fagin / Family Circle Magazine Mar02

    Those silvery globules that you may have once played with in science class are being recognized as a significant health risk. And there is a growing consensus that even moderate doses of mercury—the kind you can get from regularly eating several meals of tuna every week, or from breathing in vapors from a broken thermometer—can damage the brain at its most delicate stages of development.

    “The fetal brain is so sensitive, even low-level exposures can have an effect,” says Joseph Jacobson, Ph.D, co-author of mercury hazards report released by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in July 2000.

    An astonishing number of children are at risk. Over 60,000 babies every year in the U.S. are exposed to unsafe levels of mercury while inside the womb, according to estimates in the NAS report. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, says as many as three million American children have elevated mercury levels in their blood. And about seven million women and children regularly eat fish that is tainted with unsafe levels of the toxic metal.

    Mercury is in our air, water and food, the result of pollution from incinerators, power plants and other industries. Airborne pollution is what matters the most, experts agree, because of what happens after it falls back to earth and enters rivers, lakes and oceans-and the fish that live in them.

    When mercury particles reach the marine environment, they’re converted into methylmercury, a highly toxic compound and the reason why state health officials have warned against eating excessive amounts of fish from more than 52,000 lakes and 238,000 miles of rivers in 40 states. In January 2001 the EPA and the Food and Drug Administration took the unprecedented step of issuing nationwide guidelines cautioning pregnant women and young children to limit how much fish they eat, and to avoid some species entirely. Even canned tuna is a worry.

    (end excerpt)

  11. I have read the horror stories of these CFL light bulbs. A lady put one in the overhead light fixture of her daughters bedroom, but when putting it in she dropped it and it broke. She called the EPA to find out how to clean it up but since she has carpeting she could not get all of the mercury out of the carpet and since the bulb broke midair, hitting the stool she was standing on, the air in the daughters bedroom was contaminated. Her daugher can no longer use the bedroom or anything in it. It will cost over 5000 dollars to remove the mercury. They had to put up plastic sheeting over the door way and seal the room off. Since the door to the bedroom was open when the bulb broke they had to pay huge sums to clean the air in the house and remove the carpets and lampshades and curtains and bedcloths and all clothing from their home. It cost them considerable money to do this and they do not have enough money to clean their daughers bedroom. CFL lighting is total stupidity. I have heard other stories similar to these. Whole factories shut down because one bulb broke. Think of all the mercury that will end up in landfills leaching into water supplies from the bulbs already sold, not to mention the ones being manufactured and sitting on store shelves. Each and everyone has potential to destroy, cause cancer, death, nerve damage, poison the environment, the sum total of devastion with this is through cannot be imagined. There is an option, buy LED lights. They are expensive but the technology is improving.

  12. Mercury vapor is my concern! Forget breakage. I doubt the bulb needs to break to be harmful to us. Mercury vapor in the mouth from the amalgam fillings causes enough damage to health, but now we are talking about mercury heated up inside a light bulb in every room of the house letting off poisonous mercury vapor. Just Great!!

  13. The Luddites are getting hysterical. The average home will not be consuming more than 3 to 4 grams of mercury from florescent lights or thermostats (the only other thing in the house likely to use mercury that I can think of.) —over a period of years.

    The hazard potential is next to nothing.. A cost benefit analysis will show the bulbs to be an overall benefit.

    • Okay, Lewis. You’ve got a point. Go ahead and consume 3 to 4 grams of mercury, then let us know how you feel afterwards. Let’s see: 3-4 grams of mercury per household, times how many households in America? That makes how many pound of mercury in the landfills for how many years? LOTS!

      How about a solution that is not made in China, is user-friendly, and does no harm? That is the point I am trying to make. With all of the technology we have at our fingertips, why are we shipping mercury-filled bulbs from China (try calculating that cost to the environment) and filling landfills and carpets with a toxic substance, when we could do something else. LED maybe? I don’t know. What I do know is that we are exchanging one form of pollution for another, all for the sake of “free trade” and corporate profit.

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  15. Okay, so do you have 6,000 gallons of fresh drinking water laying around? You know, since the mercury in ONE CFL has enough to raise the mercury level above safe levels in 6,000 GALLONS OF WATER. These bulbs are more dangerous than the incandescent. They also provide no cost savings unless they are rightside up (if they are upside down, they actually last for a SHORTER time that regular bulbs).

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