The Truth About CFLs
So, how does it feel to lose some of your liberty? Or didn’t you know that you had? Well, starting in the year 2014, it will be illegal to manufacture, import or sell incandescent light bulbs in the United States.You will have to settle for those little curly compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) filled with that “lovely” mercury vapor. Now if you define liberty as the “freedom from force and coercion” you can see that the government is forcing you to buy CFL’s the result is you’ve lost a little bit of your freedom and liberty.
The liberty grabbers reply is, ‘Yes, you’re going to lose a little liberty but in return you’ll (1) save money, and (2) reduce polluted air because of the diminished use of coal-fired electric plants.’ But let’s see what you really have lost in this trade-off between the freedom to use incandescent bulbs and the forced use of CFL’s…
The Economic Cost of Using CFL’s
First, let’s consider the economic impact of using CFL’s, above and beyond the fact that they cost three to four times as much to purchase.
- CFLs don’t work well (or sometimes at all) in very cold weather, so operation of porch lights and outdoor security lights in northern states may be erratic in wintertime.
- If a CFL is turned on and off frequently, its energy efficiency drops and its highly- touted life expectancy decreases as much as 10 hours each time they are turned on.
- Most CFLs can’t be used with dimmer switches or timers.
- CFLs may smoke, smolder and catch fire… Even though we’re assured they won’t catch fire [See: “Compact fluorescent lights may create more problems than they solve.“; and “CFLs Can Catch Fire” ].
When you consider the manufacturing costs of both incandescent bulbs and CFL’s, you’ll see the perceived advantages of CFL’s completely disappear.Consider these facts:
The materials list for the manufacture of incandescent bulbs is much less than CFL’s.
Another truth about CFLs is that all CFL’s are manufactured overseas, because the health standards for manufacturing are not as strict.(Which means our pollution is literally being outsourced.)
Factor in the cost of overseas shipping and handling expenses, plus the cradle-to-grave special handling of the mercury laden CFL’s and their perceived cost advantage completely disappears.
And phosphor, the mineral necessary for fluorescent lights to function, is becoming more difficult to find because of a world-wide shortage. This means the price of CFLs will continue to rise. [See: Huge Price Increases Underway from Lamp Manufacturers: The impact of rare earth metals shortages.]
The Health Cost of Using CFL’s
Now, let’s consider the assault on your health and well-being from being forced to use CFL’s.
“8 grams of waste are produced in the manufacture of the incandescent (zero of which are hazardous), but 128 grams are produced in the manufacture of a compact fluorescent light of which 78 grams are hazardous.” [See: Save the Bulb – CFL Autopsy (Original information derived from spreadsheets prepared for the European Parliament Energy savings committee.)
A recent study of cancer clusters in a school in California associated the increased risk of cancer among teachers to dirty electricity(2). Teachers who taught in classrooms where the dirty electricity was above 2000 GS units had a 5-fold increase risk of cancer (risk ratio 5.1) that was statistically significant. Teachers who never taught in those classrooms had a risk ratio of 1.8. [See: Health Concerns Associated with Energy Efficient Lighting and their Electromagnetic Emissions, June 2008, Dr. Magda Havas, Associate Professor, Environmental and Resource Studies Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org]
“The biggest immediate injury threat from a broken lamp is from the phosphor-coated glass. If cut with fluorescent lamp glass, any phosphor that gets into the wound is likely to prevent blood clotting and will interfere with healing.” [See: Hazards of a CFL]
“All CFL’s have levels of mercury vapor. Mercury vapor is a highly toxic substance, with an “extreme” rating as a poison”. [See: Mercury in broken CFL bulbs can exceed safe exposure levels for humans!; and Hazards of a CFL]
“If not properly disposed, mercury can contaminate buildings, landfills, lakes, animals, fish, birds, humans, crops and rivers.” [See: Hazards of a CFL]
“A long term hazard from fluorescent lighting is the shorter-wave ultraviolet light that escapes the lamp. No matter how well crafted, some short-wave ultraviolet light escapes from every fluorescent lamp made.” [See: Hazards of a CFL]
So the bottom line is, we’ve given up our liberty and freedom of choice in order to flood our country with CFL’s that do not save money and will greatly damage our environment, both inside and outside of our homes. If this doesn’t make sense to you, why not call your representative and let him know how you feel.