We switched?and we hope you did too?but now we have to figure out how to dispose of these bulbs, since they do burn out eventually!
As usual, Europe is ahead of the US, where we are still burying our heads in the sand when it comes to global warming. In the UK, the government is helping people figure out how to dispose of fluorescent bulbs when they burn out or break. BBC News quotes toxicologist David Spurgeon as saying, “Because these light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury they could cause a problem if they are disposed of in a normal [trash can]. It is possible that the mercury they contain could be released either into the air or from land-fill when they are released into the wider environment. That’s a concern, because mercury is a well known toxic substance.”
If you break one of these bulbs, everyone should leave the room for at least 15 minutes, and the pieces should be cleaned up with a vacuum, rather than a broom. The pieces should be handled with rubber gloves and placed in a plastic bag for disposal. BBC quotes toxicologist David Ray as saying that there is about 6-8 mg of mercury in a typical low-energy bulb, which he describes as a “pretty small amount.” He says, “Mercury accumulates in the body?especially the brain. The biggest danger is repeated exposure?a one [time] exposure is not as potentially dangerous compared to working in a light bulb factory. If you smash one bulb then that is not too much of a hazard. However, if you broke five bulbs in a small unventilated room then you might be in short term danger.”
You need good light to see what you’re wearing, but you can chat on your computer in the dark?all you need to do is subscribe!
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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