Sunday, February 17, 2008

CFL Dangers

[I posted this originally in the early hours of Sunday morning, and it was not until lunchtime that I found that coincidentally the New York Times had run an editorial on the subject. See

In looking for the above link, I also found that they had run a story on the subject yesterday,]

A while back I posted about my personal experiences with compact florescent lamps, as a result of which a reader emailed me to warn me of their dangers. All fluorescents contain Mercury, the most toxic non-radioactive metal known to man. It is a neurotoxin and especially dangerous for young children. There is no effective way to clean up after an indoor breakage. Furthermore, there is no effective recycling program. Apparently California may require big bold labels stating CFLs are toxic.

See -- which also raises concerns about ultraviolet light, lead, and fire hazard -- for more.


E.M. said...

While totally respecting the danger that is mercury, I think that its important to not scare people away from CFLs. The mercury output by coal fired plants is much higher. And while an anecdote isn't data, I honesty can't think of the last time I heard of someone breaking a light bulb, CFL or otherwise.

Tony Welsh said...

Good points. Also see my amendment to the post.