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  1. #1
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    Default What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULB WARNING


    By Rosalind Peterson
    May 14, 2007
    NewsWithViews.com
    There is a movement by many states and localities to ban incandescent light bulbs and convert to total use of fluorescent bulbs (CFL) to save energy. And yet there are few who have read the small print on the tiny inside package label of fluorescent bulbs or heard about the EPA’s problems with regard to mercury contamination. What should you know about fluorescent light bulbs?

    1) Heat resistant glass is used in these bulbs. The quartz arc tube, when operating creates light by generating a considerable amount of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. How much exposure to this UV radiation goes through the heat resistant glass and what are the human health problems associated with this exposure? How does the public know that the exposure is safe for children and adults?

    2) If the glass is broken serious skin burn and eye inflammation from short-wave ultraviolet radiation may occur. Many of these fluorescent bulbs are constructed without automatic shut offs if the light bulbs are broken, thus exposing people to this type of harmful UV radiation.

    3) In the workplace many employees subjected to this type of lighting develop eyestrain and headaches. In many cases the flickering of these types of lights causes workplace eyestrain and irritation from the lighting being too bright. These issues do not appear to have any solutions at this time other than the use of incandescent light bulbs.

    4) According to California Assembly Bill 1109 (2007) Section (e): “…Most fluorescent lighting products contain hazardous levels of mercury. Most incandescent lighting products contain hazardous levels of lead. California prohibits disposing of hazardous lighting products in the solid waste stream. The hazardous materials in these products can be managed through recycling, but current recycling opportunities and levels are virtually nonexistent for most consumers...” Fluorescent light bulbs contain both mercury and lead.

    5) According to California Assembly Bill 1109 (2007) Section (f): “Fluorescent lighting products delivering the same level of light at the same level of efficiency can have widely varying levels of mercury…” It appears that the product labels do not designate the levels of mercury in their products so that consumers can pick the ones with the lowest level of mercury to use and for toxic waste disposal. (Vote no on California Assembly Bill 722.)

    6) Whether or not shifting from incandescent lighting to fluorescent light will result in a net reduction of mercury emissions due to the displacement of coal fired electricity generation is questionable at this time. More highly polluting production plants using mercury will need to be put online making fluorescent bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs. In addition, the lack of recycling will put this mercury into landfills where it will leach into drinking water sources and contaminate landfills as is the case at the present time.

    7) Clean up instructions for mercury broken bulbs are not provided on the outside of fluorescent manufacturer’s packaging at this time. Therefore, consumers are not aware of the following EPA facts:

    A. “Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury. The vacuum will put mercury into the air and increase exposure. The vacuum appliance will be contaminated and have to be disposed of in a hazard waste disposal site.”

    B. “Never use a broom to clean up mercury…”

    C. “Never wash mercury contaminated items in a washing machine. Mercury may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.”

    D. Everyone should be removed from the area where the spill occurred; this includes pets. The impacted areas should be sealed off from other areas and all ventilation systems should be turned off from the impacted area.

    E. “Never walk around as your shoes might be contaminated with mercury. Contaminated clothing can spread mercury around.” In case of fire the entire area will be contaminated with mercury and should be sealed off from any type of use.

    F. If a spill occurs on carpet, curtains, upholstery or other like surfaces, these contaminated items should be thrown away in accordance…” and with assistance of your local hazard waste disposal site.

    8) The outside label on most fluorescent light bulbs does not carry this hazard information leading the public to believe that these bulbs are safe and that they do not need special recycling as hazardous wastes. And the outside label does not let you know that used bulbs should be placed in containers where they can’t be broken prior to disposal.

    According to an article written by Joseph Farah, in WorldNetDaily, on April 16, 2007, is the following statement: “…But with limited recycling prospects and the problems experienced…some think the government, the green community, and industry are putting the cart before the horse…” when they ferociously market fluorescent light bulbs. According to this article one local citizen in Prospect, Maine has to raise $2,000 to have an environmental cleanup firm do the work and her homeowners insurance won’t cover the cost.

    Now we have Vice-President Al Gore with books, movies, and speeches promoting the use of fluorescent light bulbs knowing fully well that they are not safe. Some do catch fire if not used in the proper lighting fixtures, which do not include, for example, track, recessed or dimmer fixtures. (Many packages are not clearly marked on this subject.) And known solutions to the problems associated with fluorescent light bulbs are five to ten years away. And prior to any ban on incandescent light bulbs there should be collection and disposal sites available everywhere for these types of products.
    Americans also want built-in protections from mercury contamination for air, soil and water supplies prior to any mass changeover to this type of light bulb. Why are these types of light bulbs being promoted when they may not be safe for consumers to use and dispose of when broken?

    New lighting systems could be found that work better than either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Technological inventions could reduce the amount of electricity used by incandescent bulbs and a whole new generation of lighting systems could be put online like LED lights which may or may not be proven safe with regards to public health. With recycling about ten years away industry could be working on mercury free fluorescent lighting systems to meet energy reduction requirements. We need safe inventions first before we ban incandescent light bulbs.

    The EPA warns everyone that “…Mercury has long been known to have toxic effects on human and wildlife…Mercury is a toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative pollutant that affects the nervous system…As it moves through the environmental media, mercury undergoes a series of complex chemical and physical transformations…” Local, state, and federal agencies should be working to reduce the amount of mercury in the environment not promoting more usage of this highly toxic chemical. No one currently knows how many fluorescent bulbs are in landfills at this time. If we expand their usage we are adding to a monumental mercury pollution problem. We definitely need recycling before we need to use more of these fluorescent light bulbs.
    Where are thousands of these fluorescent bulbs, made from (a polluting industry), going to be recycled in the future if we ban incandescent bulbs?

    Are there recycling centers that can handle mercury contamination from these types of bulbs and take care of clean up when these bulbs are broken in your home and in landfills where they may be dumped? The public has many questions and few answers. Contact your elected representatives and find out where they stand on this important issue. Vote no on legislation that would ban incandescent light bulbs in California and other states. We can have safe and energy efficient light bulbs in the future if we work toward those goals today.
    Information on Fluorescent Light Bulbs
    1, EPA FACT Sheet 2007 - Mercury Hazards Light
    2, General Electric 2007 Health Hazards MSDS Bulbs
    3, Wikipedia Definition
    4, "Consumers in dark over risks of new light bulbs." Push for energy-saving fluorescents ignores mercury disposal hazards.
    5, EPA Mercury
    6, EPA Mercury
    7, How to handle Broken Fluorescent Bulbs
    8, California State Bill # AB 722 (2007) Contact your State Representatives today!
    9, California State Bill # AB1109 Hazardous Waste in Light Bulbs (2007)
    10, EPA How to Handle Hazardous Wastes like Mercury 2007
    11, Mercury spills, cleanup instructions, EPA
    Information on the EPA
    1, U.S. Environment Protection Agency
    2, History of the Environmental Protection Agency
    3, Historical Time Line EPA
    4, EPA Mercury Pollution
    5, Wikipedia
    6, Global Climate Change - EPA
    7, Why are EPA libraries closing?
    © 2007 Rosalind Peterson - All Rights Reserved

    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld
    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
    http://www.prevuepropertyinspections.com/
    "How can someone with glasses so thick be so stupid?"

  2. #2
    Joe Asta's Avatar
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    These arguments have been around for a long time.

    Facts they aren't telling:

    All newer lamps and fixtures that contain mercury must be labeled that the product contains mercury (Universal symbol of Hg in a circle)

    Electronic ballasts shut down when the lamp is broken (not true for older magnetic ballasts)

    Newer lamps provide a UV barrier

    Quartz lamps are not the same as CFL

    Most stores that sell CFL's have a recycling program

    LED's are more expensive and although the LED's may last 60,000 hours, the electronics that drive the LED are warrantied for a much shorter time


  3. #3
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Asta View Post
    ...Facts they aren't telling:

    All newer lamps and fixtures that contain mercury must be labeled...
    And the label protects people from the mercury how? The fact is, they still tell you to treat your house like a superfund site if a cfl breaks. I use them in some places, but if I still had a little kid in the house, I wouldn't use any.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    Confessions of a CFL detractor

    To declare that I am against the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and still call myself an environmentalist seems, in today's green world, to be an oxymoron. More than any other consumer item, the CFL has come to represent the green movement. The arguments in their favor are compelling. They use 1/3 to 1/5 the electricity of incandescent bulbs. Because they last an from 6,000 to 15,000 hours, compared to the incandescent bulb's 750 to 1,000 hours, the initial higher price is a good, long-term investment that can save as much as $30/bulb over its life.

    It has been estimated that if the 110 million American households each replaced only one incandescent bulb with a CFL, the energy saved would be equivalent to closing two coal-burning power plants and a reduction of greenhouse gases equivalent to removing 1.5 million cars off the road.

    Changing out every bulb would certainly be a no-brainer, a patriotic duty for every world citizen that I would fully embrace if I could also swallow the following beliefs:

    1. "Its OK to sell millions of CFLs and ban incandescents before we figure out how to safely dispose of the CFL." Although each bulb contains enough of the neurotoxin mercury to be considered hazardous waste, it is estimated that only 3 percent of them are currently properly disposed of. The rest end up in landfills or are incinerated and the mercury is released into the air and land.

    2. "The factory workers in China, who manufacture these bulbs and suffer alarming rates of mercury poisoning, are of no consequence."

    3. "Science has not yet proven that CFLs cause harm, so the people who are getting ill from them must be wrong." In fact, CFLs emit 200 times as much UV radiation as incandescent bulbs and people who suffer from Lupus can't spend time under fluorescent lighting without risking painful skin flareups. Each CFL also emits a pulsed radio frequency or "dirty energy" signal that can extend out 10 feet. According to the findings of Dr. Magda Havas, an expert in the field of electromagnetic radiation, many people have reported migraine headaches, flu-like body aches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping when exposed to the radio frequencies emitted by CFLs.

    The good news is that there is a very promising alternative to the energy-guzzling incandescent and the CFL. The LED (light emitting diode) is a nontoxic solution that uses 1/8 the electricity of an incandescent bulb, roughly half the electricity of a CFL, and has a lifetime of 35,000 to 50,000 hours! Unfortunately, the bulbs can cost as much as $80 and even though the lifetime replacement costs are virtually nonexistent, it is currently beyond the reach of most Americans. Significant breakthroughs have been made, however, and affordability is optimistically in the near future.

    Perhaps in the face of the enormity and urgency of a human-caused environmental meltdown, changing a light bulb is one feel-good thing within the grasp of us all. But before we become completely invested in millions of CFLs, as the green-marketing machine would have us do, I believe that a better approach might be to aggressively conserve in other ways while supporting the development of the more holistically environmental LED.

    It is far easier to change a light bulb than to change our behavior, but wouldn't it be interesting to know what the cumulative effect of 110 million families consciously shutting off all unnecessary lights might be?

    Paula Baker-Laporte FAIA is an architect and a certified Building Biology practitioner. The principle of Baker-Laporte and Associates and of EcoNest Design, she is primary author of Prescriptions for a Healthy House and co-author with husband Robert Laporte of Econest: Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw and Timber.

    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
    http://www.prevuepropertyinspections.com/
    "How can someone with glasses so thick be so stupid?"

  6. #6
    Joe Asta's Avatar
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    My insight for the future:

    LED's will replace low voltage halogen lamps (MR16 style)

    OLED's will replace linear flourescent

    CFL's are a stop-gap measure much like increasing the CAFE in automobiles.


  7. #7
    Joe Asta's Avatar
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    If I'm not mistaken, Title 24 is going to be ammended to address this issue. I know that unless a customer specifies differently, we only use high power factor ballasts.


  8. #8
    Joe Asta's Avatar
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    OLED-Transparent-OLED-philips.jpg

    I bet you folks can think of a million applications for this.


  9. #9
    Joe Asta's Avatar
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode)

    It produces millions of colors, can be printed on flexible substrates and contains no mercury. Very thin and low power consumption.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    There is also the Power Factor issue. They actually need quite a bit more power than they actually use. The electric company eats it as far as what they have to supply versus paid-for power. I'm surprised the electric companies are pushing these.
    Huh? Need more power than they use? I don't get what you mean.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  11. #11
    Joe Asta's Avatar
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    A good analogy of Power Factor is to imagine a horse pulling a barge along a canal.
    The useful work is the force acting along the line of the canal, which moves the barge
    by overcoming the resistance of the water in which it floats, analogous to the useful
    power (kW) in an electrical circuit.
    The horse can't walk on water and must move along the towpath, so the towrope is at an
    angle to the direction along which the barge must move.
    The towrope is always trying to pull the horse sideways into the water and at the same
    time trying to pull the barge into the canal bank. The horse must walk along at a slight
    angle and the barge uses the rudder to keep the craft in the center of the canal.
    The sideways forces act at right angles to the direction the barge intends to travel and
    are "useless" - analogous to reactive current in the electrical circuit (kVAr).
    The towrope itself shows the resultant force created by the useful pull and useless side
    pull and the length is representative of size of force, or kVA in the electrical version.
    The actual value of the term "power factor" is the ratio of the force represented by the
    diagonal line divided by the total force represented by the towrope.

    Another analogy is beer where the beer is kW and the foam is kVAr. The beer company charges you only for the beer but you charge your customers by the mug (beer + foam)


  12. #12
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Asta View Post
    The power companies bill you for how many watts you use not the amount of current you draw.

    A good analogy of Power Factor is to imagine a horse pulling a barge along a canal.

    The useful work is the force acting along the line of the canal, which moves the barge by overcoming the resistance of the water in which it floats, analogous to the useful power (kW) in an electrical circuit.



    <FONT size=2 face=Verdana><SPAN style="mso-bidi-font-size: 8.0pt">The horse can't walk on water and must move along the towpath, so the towrope is at an angle to the direction along which the barge must move.
    Another way to think of it is if you fly or boat (sail or motorized) - your intent is to go in a straight line from point A (which is south) to point B (which is north) with wind or current coming from B. The airplane or boat must overcome that headwind/current in useful power to get to point B.

    However, when the wind/current is coming from the east you now must pilot your craft toward the northeast to make headway to the north. That is used power but not useful power.

    High power factor closer aligns the used power with useful power.

    Joe, did that come out right? I may have gotten sidetracked in my crab angle.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
    Joe Asta's Avatar
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    Talking Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    Another way to think of it is if you fly or boat (sail or motorized) - your intent is to go in a straight line from point A (which is south) to point B (which is north) with wind or current coming from B. The airplane or boat must overcome that headwind/current in useful power to get to point B.

    However, when the wind/current is coming from the east you now must pilot your craft toward the northeast to make headway to the north. That is used power but not useful power.

    High power factor closer aligns the used power with useful power.

    Joe, did that come out right? I may have gotten sidetracked in my crab angle.
    That's correct and alot easier to visualize than mine.

    On a side note, I have noticed in the lab that high power factor ballasts run much hotter than normal power factor ballasts. They definitely draw less current but the heat generation bothered me. I theorize that the circuit must store power for part of the AC cycle and then release it at a corrected vector and the heat is byproduct of the storage time.

    I'll have to check with an EE. I must of missed (or slept during) those classes in school.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Asta View Post
    On a side note, I have noticed in the lab that high power factor ballasts run much hotter than normal power factor ballasts. They definitely draw less current but the heat generation bothered me. I theorize that the circuit must store power for part of the AC cycle and then release it at a corrected vector and the heat is byproduct of the storage time.
    Not having gone to school to miss that class I think you are getting more heat because you are getting more work done. The current sine wave is in closer phase relationship to the voltage sine wave, when they match you get the most heat and the most work - such as with straight resistance where they are in phase with each other.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: What they don't tell you about CFL's!!

    Hmmmmmmmm

    Okee Dokeee


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