Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Environmental Scam Of Flourescent Lightbulbs

Fluorescent lights are hyped as an easy way to do the environment a favor. After all, they use less energy than incandescent and do not have to be replaced as often. So what's wrong with fluorescent lights?

They contain mercury.

The problem with mercury is that it bio-accumulates. Most toxins (like pesticides) that bio-accumulate are stored in fat cells. But mercury (and other heavy metals) are stored in muscle tissue and cannot be removed as easily by fasting. Mercury destroys the brain, and therefore causes a vast array of mental problems. It also harms the environment.

Pro-Fluorescent people argue that the pollution saved from running less coal power plants by using fluorescent lights, out weighs the small amount of mercury that may be released if a bulb is broken.

However, I am of the philosophy that it is better to clean one large polluter than trying to clean many small polluters. This is the same philosophy of electric car supporters; using electric cars means heavier reliance on the power grid, but it is easier to clean one large tail pipe of a coal powered plant (you have alternative energy options) than thousands of small tail pipes of petrol powered vehicles.

A compact fluorescent light broke in one of my relatives dining room and shattered on the carpeted floor. Precautions say to leave the premises for half an hour and pick up the pieces. The fact is that mercury is never going to leave that carpet and going to affect the most susceptible part of society, being any infant that may crawl on the ground.

Grocery stores have dozens if not hundreds of fluorescent lights. Inevitably, some of these delicate glass tubes break when being replaced and fall on food. The unknowing or irresponsible maintenance person will most likely clean up the pieces and take no further precaution, leaving food with small amounts of mercury contamination.

So what's the alternative?
LED light bulbs. They last almost indefinitely, consume even less energy than fluorescents, run cool, are rugged, and are non-toxic. While they cost more, you will probably never have to replace them and will never be exposed to mercury if you break one.

Living a Non-Toxic lifestyle is important part of Thrivalism.


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