Saturday, December 17, 2011

They've Seen The Light

Two cheers for Congress.  In their omnibus spending bill, they slipped in a provision that no money will be given to enforce the 100-watt incandesecent light bulb ban that takes effect in 2012. But it's only for one year, and the ban is still in effect, anyway. (Mickey Kaus notes the Democrats are more than happy to have this issue go away until after the elections.) Next year, they should go whole hog and just get rid of the ban.

I have a CFL bulb in my place that I turn on when I enter (and whenever I'm carrying something heavy I curse as I wait for it to turn on).  I've got nothing against freely chosen CFLs, but it is scary to own a product that you don't know how to dispose of*.

I actually don't have many 100-watt bulbs at my place--I use mostly 75-watt.  They're set to be phased out by 2013, so I've still got plenty of time to stock up.

*I just checked and here's what you do:

What do I do with a CFL when it burns out? What is the proper disposal of a CFL bulb?

Follow these guidelines to dispose your CFL properly:

•Like paint, batteries, thermostats, and other hazardous household items, CFLs should be disposed of properly. Do not throw CFLs away in your household garbage if better disposal options exist. To find out what to do first check (where you can find disposal options by using your zip code) or call 1-800-CLEAN-UP for local disposal options. Another option is to check directly with your local waste management agency for recycling options and disposal guidelines in your community. Additional information is available at Finally, IKEA stores take back used CFLs, and other retailers are currently exploring take back programs.

•If your local waste management agency offers no other disposal options except your household garbage, place the CFL in a plastic bag and seal it before putting it in the trash. If your waste agency incinerates its garbage, you should search a wider geographic area for proper disposal options. Never send a CFL or other mercury containing product to an incinerator.

What should I do if a CFL breaks?

Because there is such a small amount of mercury in CFLs, your greatest risk if a bulb breaks is getting cut from glass shards. Research indicates that there is no immediate health risk to you or your family should a bulb break and it's cleaned up properly. You can minimize any risks by following these proper clean-up and disposal guidelines:

•Sweep up—don't vacuum—all of the glass fragments and fine particles.

•Place broken pieces in a sealed plastic bag and wipe the area with a damp paper towel to pick up any stray shards of glass or fine particles. Put the used towel in the plastic bag as well.

•If weather permits, open windows to allow the room to ventilate.

Well, that clears it up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait for this. Within two years every household will contain amounts of mercury that would get any business closed down by EPA. Cleaned up properly, my ass.

How much you want to bet the law includes protection from liability for the manufacturers?

4:51 AM, December 17, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:37 AM, December 17, 2011  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

My stock of incandescent bulbs is losing value fast! Oh well, I guess I'll just have to use them over the next 25 years.

P.S. This is not a joke, I have been stockpiling.

8:35 AM, December 19, 2011  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I think the folks at are deliberatly lying on the website you linked to. They offer some sunny advice on dealing with broken bulbs, and then casually offer a link to "additional information" from the EPA.

But that EPA website tells a different story. For example, if you are unfortunate enough to break the bulb in a thick carpet, not only do you have to evacuate the room for 10 minutes (and turn off your A/C or heating fan), but you have to use cautionary procedures "the next several times you vacuum"! How often do people vacuum? Once per week? once per month? a few times per year? "The next several times you vacuum" means more than a month, possibly a full year. That's a long time to suffer the repercussions of a single broken bulb. And Wikipedia has a link to a study by the Maine Department of Health that is even more ominous.

I still think this is the most powerful symbol of how American "liberalism" changed its fundamental goal sometime in the second half of the 20th century. The liberalism of Woodrow Wilson and FDR was always pro-human: workplace safetly laws, child labor laws, the FDA -- all of these were designed to protect human beings from the dangers posed by laissez-faire capitalism. The New Deal built hundreds of dams to help humans, even when they hurt the environment. But modern liberalism wants to preserve the environment, even at the expense of human beings. So today's liberals are willing to expose children to levels of mercury that FDR- and LBJ-era liberals would be shocked at, in order to combat global warning.

2:38 PM, December 19, 2011  

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