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Eco-bulbs are a health hazard due to mercury

 
Energy-saving light bulbs were at the center of a fresh health scare last night after researchers claimed they can release potentially harmful amounts of mercury if brokenLevels of toxic vapor around smashed eco-bulbs were up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area, the study said. The concerns surround ‘compact fluorescent lamps’ (CFLs), the most common type of eco-bulb, which are mini-versions of the strip lights found in offices.
 
A CFL uses a fifth of the energy of a conventional bulb and can save money in bills. However, critics complain that CFLs’ light is harsh and flickery. Medical charities say they can trigger epileptic fits, migraines and skin rashes.
 
The study, for Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, tested a ‘worst case’ scenario using two CFLs, one containing 2 milligrams of mercury and the other 5 milligrams. Neither lamp had a protective casing and both of them were broken when hot.
 
Scientists found that they released around 7 micrograms (there are 1,000 micrograms in a milligram) per cubic meter of air. The official guideline limit is 0.35 micrograms per cubic meter.
 
 ‘For children’s rooms and other areas at higher risk of lamp breakage, we recommend the use of energy-saving lamps that are protected against breakage.’ However, the UK Government insisted the CFL bulbs were safe – and that the risk from a one-off exposure was minimal.
 
Dr. Iverson's Comment

This is a good article just to bring awareness in the least. I don’t feel there is enough information at this point for the industry to make sweeping standards but we may see that in the near future. Therefore, if you do use these types of bulbs and one breaks, understand that you could be exposed to mercury. Do not touch with bare hands and open windows for the vapor to escape.

If you want to dispose of these bulbs safely and conveniently you may take them to Home Depot and put them in the recycle bin. For more information follow this link:

http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/services/home/environ/waste/hazardous/cfl.htm

Be well!
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