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Mercury
Old 06-04-2011, 06:58 PM   #41
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Mercury

CFL Bulbs Have One Hitch: Toxic Mercury

by Elizabeth Shogren



February 15, 2007


General Electric: FAQs on Mercury & Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Fact Sheet: Mercury in CFL Bulbs
Energy Star: FAQs on Disposing of CFL Bulbs

In Depth




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.
"The problem with the bulbs is that they'll break before they get to the landfill. They'll break in containers, or they'll break in a dumpster or they'll break in the trucks. Workers may be exposed to very high levels of mercury when that happens," says John Skinner, executive director of the Solid Waste Association of North America, the trade group for the people who handle trash and recycling.
Skinner says when bulbs break near homes, they can contaminate the soil.
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, and it's especially dangerous for children and fetuses. Most exposure to mercury comes from eating fish contaminated with mercury,
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:34 PM   #42
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FUD!
Yes, cfls contain trace amounts of mercury. Far less mercury than is contained in thermometers used up until recently.
As for soil contamination, far MORE mercury is produced in coal plants to produce the extra energy incandescent bulbs use. So you actually put less mercury into the general environment by using cfls.

Edit-- From the GE link you provided-
Quote:
CFLs present an opportunity to prevent mercury emissions from entering the environment because they help to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants. A coal-fired power plant will emit 13.6 milligrams of mercury to produce electricity required to use an incandescent light bulb, compared to 3.3 milligrams for a CFL.

That said, they do contain a trace amount and should be disposed of properly.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:59 PM   #43
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A local charity store is closing - stopped in today and bought a box of lightbulbs, including over 30 25W stove/refrigerator lamps in their cardboard sleeves, a dozen round vanity bulbs, a 75W halogen, 5 plug in halogen desk lamp bulbs in the clamshell packaging, 5 of the big industrial base 3 ways, 3 red 25W sexy time bulbs, a black light, a bug light, a fistfull of candelabra base, and just a bunch of other lights - even 3 normal 75W bulbs. $10 for the box. Leaving a bunch here and taking most up to the darklands where many will go into the rentals over time. Score.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:56 PM   #44
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A local charity store is closing - stopped in today and bought a box of lightbulbs, including over 30 25W stove/refrigerator lamps in their cardboard sleeves, a dozen round vanity bulbs, a 75W halogen, 5 plug in halogen desk lamp bulbs in the clamshell packaging, 5 of the big industrial base 3 ways, 3 red 25W sexy time bulbs, a black light, a bug light, a fistfull of candelabra base, and just a bunch of other lights - even 3 normal 75W bulbs. $10 for the box. Leaving a bunch here and taking most up to the darklands where many will go into the rentals over time. Score.
If our house is any indication, there are tens of millions of incandescent bulbs stored in millions of cupboards & drawers throughout the North American continent. It'll take decades to work through the inventory.

This seems sort of like the changeover from R12 to R134. Nobody gets excited about that anymore either.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:07 PM   #45
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If our house is any indication, there are tens of millions of incandescent bulbs stored in millions of cupboards & drawers throughout the North American continent. It'll take decades to work through the inventory.

This seems sort of like the changeover from R12 to R134. Nobody gets excited about that anymore either.
I haven't been storing any, other than my usual handful for replacements. Now I'm thinking that I should get a move on... maybe a couple of 4-packs of my 65W floodlights, anyway.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:27 PM   #46
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I haven't been storing any, other than my usual handful for replacements. Now I'm thinking that I should get a move on... maybe a couple of 4-packs of my 65W floodlights, anyway.
I wonder what you'd get for a wanted ad on Craigslist...
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:23 AM   #47
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We were just in Lowe's earlier this week, and they seemed to have an abundance of incandescent bulbs. But from what I have read on this thread, that could end soon.
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:22 AM   #48
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I'm hoarding incandescent bulbs along with Beanie Babies to finance my nursing home years.
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:57 AM   #49
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Here is a link from wikipedia on the phase out. Note that Jan 1 2012 is 100 watt bulbs with others coming later.
Phase-out of incandescent light bulbs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
75 w is 2013 and 60 and 40 is 2014. There is a long list of exceptions such as appliance bulbs and the like, reflector bulbs are another.
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Old 06-05-2011, 03:21 PM   #50
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FUD!
Yes, cfls contain trace amounts of mercury. Far less mercury than is contained in thermometers used up until recently.
As for soil contamination, far MORE mercury is produced in coal plants to produce the extra energy incandescent bulbs use. So you actually put less mercury into the general environment by using cfls.

Edit-- From the GE link you provided-



That said, they do contain a trace amount and should be disposed of properly.
Few people throw away thermometers frequently. I'm sure very few follow the official disposal methods for CFLs. Most just throw it in the trash.
Here is a novel idea: any store selling CFLs must take back broken, or non functioning ones and dispose of them properly...

My experience is that few CFLs make it as long as it claimed on the package.

Generally households have one, maybe two thermometers with mercury, and keep them for years and years.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:06 PM   #51
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Converted to CFLs (purchased at Walmart and Costco) about four years ago. Only one has failed in that time. Lighting was never a large part of my energy usage, but bills are down some nonetheless.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:16 PM   #52
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Few people throw away thermometers frequently. I'm sure very few follow the official disposal methods for CFLs. Most just throw it in the trash.
I do, it is so terribly difficult to take one bulb, once a year, to dispose of. Frankly I find disposing batteries far more bothersome.
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Here is a novel idea: any store selling CFLs must take back broken, or non functioning ones and dispose of them properly...
Not all that novel. IKEA, has been doing it for years. Target is doing now and I believe Best Buy is either doing it now or planning to soon.
-edit- My error, Best Buy is not currently recycling CFLs. Home Depot and Meanard's (hardware store, not sure how big the chain is) currently do offer CFL recycling.

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My experience is that few CFLs make it as long as it claimed on the package.

Generally households have one, maybe two thermometers with mercury, and keep them for years and years.
Generally households keep cfls for years and years as well
If your CFLs are energy star qualified, they are warrantied for two years. If yours are not energy star certified it may be a case of getting what you pay for
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:27 PM   #53
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I have a box for bad CFLs and a box for dead batteries (even though I use mostly rechargeables). Ace hardware takes the CFLs.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:14 PM   #54
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A few months ago, I brought some old CFLs to Home Depot to dispose of. As soon as you walk in the door, they have an area to place the old CFLs into.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:22 PM   #55
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A thanks to target2019, and then later meierlde, for the wiki link. But it really isn't specific enough for me, lotta holes, and areas open to interpretation. I cringe to think that I may have to read the whole energy law to find the real details...

Even for the garden variety A19 envelope light bulb, I have many uses for them that are ill-covered by CFLs. Like the two 100 watt bulbs on my attached-garage ceiling. I'm always going out there to get or put away a tool or five, so they are on-off-on-off a lot. That's not good for CFL's, and I also want immediate full brilliance. If I'm going to be working out there, then I'll plug in some fluorescent tube lights I have, and turn off the incandescents.
Closet lights -There's another application, want full brilliance, then after being on for a minute or less, turned off. CFL's will never pay themselves back in an application like that. Attic lights - have strings of incandescents in porcelain fixtures. I want full brilliance when I need to go up there, but yet over a year, the total run time is small. Would never pay back for CFL's, much less $$ LED lights.

Still don't know about indoor incandescent floods and spotlights. I have some indoor CFL floods in use made by various mfg's, all leave something to be desired... like fast on, decent color rendition, and some have died within a year or so of installation.

I have outdoor carriage lamps that use multiple candelabra-based 60 watt bulbs. Due to the large numbers of on-hours over a year, here is a case where fluorescents could save some electricity $. However, the only candelabra fluorescents I have seen have too low of light output, and they may not even fit anyway, being larger in diameter. I probably would have to replace the fixtures, though the flourescent outdoor fixtures I have seen look very utilitarian, and look poor when lit.

I guess I'll have to start stocking up on bulbs, but it would sure be nice to really know which of them will probably be still around in a couple years.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:48 PM   #56
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If your CFLs are energy star qualified, they are warrantied for two years. If yours are not energy star certified it may be a case of getting what you pay for
Yes. Now, just find that receipt and the original packaging, mail it back, with a time-date stamped photo of the lamp on its installation date (to prove the lamp was installed properly and the date it was placed into service) to a PO Box in Sheboygan. Oh, wait, it has mercury in it? That's a hazardous material, can't put that in the mail.
Warranties . . .
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:40 AM   #57
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Sorry Sam, I couldn't tell if that was a joke or not. If you were being sarcastic, please us a smiley face or something otherwise someone may take your comment at face value.
What I could find at the EPA about it was this:
Quote:
If an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL fails before the end of the warranty, contact the manufacturer to inquire about a refund or replacement.
Save important information: receipts to document the date of purchase; the manufacturer’s contact information, such as the mailing address, phone number, or Web site address; and most importantly, the CFL model number.
If you no longer have this information, look at the CFL base to find the manufacturer’s name. Then contact information to inquire about a refund or replacement.
If all else fails, send information on early failures to cfl@energystar.gov. Include the manufacturer’s name, the product model number, and a description of where and how the bulb was used. ENERGY STAR representatives can help you locate the manufacturer’s contact information
.

And yes, warranties are a pain for any product. And if the cfls would need to be sent anywhere that would definitely be a royal pain in the keyster.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:19 AM   #58
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I heard once that (at least some) CFLs are designed to be mounted in a particular orientation (up, would be a guess, but I'm not sure). That could be why I've seen high failure rates with my horizontal installations. Can anyone confirm whether installation orientation makes a difference?
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:12 AM   #59
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I hadn't heard this, but anything is possible.
I do know heat is an issue for them. They don't recommend using them in an enclosed fixture. Two of the three of ours that burned out in the last 4 years were in closets in an enclosed fixture.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:28 AM   #60
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I hadn't heard this, but anything is possible.
I do know heat is an issue for them. They don't recommend using them in an enclosed fixture. Two of the three of ours that burned out in the last 4 years were in closets in an enclosed fixture.
I bought my first four 23W CFLs (120W equiv) at Costco yesterday for $17 to replace four 90W halogen bulbs in recessed fixtures above the kitchen. Was so proud of myself. I figured since CFLs are using 25% of the electricity of the halogens I replaced, heat shouldn't be an issue. But after reading this post and googling some more, it sounds like I shouldn't be using CFLs in recessed air-tight cans. Or does the fact that these are reflector CFLs make them ok for recessed lighting? If my house burns down it is going to offset a lot of the carbon savings from everyone else's CFLs!

Can someone explain to me how a 23W bulb that is supposedly super efficient can generate more heat than a 90W inefficient bulb? Makes no sense.
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