An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Last night my boys broke a CFL bulb in their room via an ill thrown lego. Now I knew these bulbs had some mercury in them, but I reckoned (stupidly): "Hey, the government would protect us from bringing something too terribly toxic into our homes, right?"
This morning someone posted THIS article to the LOG. This struck me: The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter.
Now, you will notice that in the example above this poor family went through a cleanup nightmare. And while the article suggests WalMart and environmentalists are "bad guys" in pushing these...it's the GOVERNMENT that we really need to worry about. Take a peek at this EPA propaganda trying to explain why we should use CFL's despite their mercury content. It's a "fact sheet" that fails to offer something I like to call down home common friggin' sense. Think about it, first, who had to deal with the effects and costs of the Bridges' home-based hazardous waste spill? The government? Nope, the Bridges' all by themselves. Do you suppose the EPA and the government might have a vested interest in their encouraging our use of these bulbs? Naw...couldn't be.
But if the news article claims there are 5mg of Hg in each CFL bulb (some further research verified this), how is it the EPA can claim that their disposal ("landfilling") only adds 0.4mg of Hg to their equation? Am I missing something here? Of course, they recommend that these bulbs be recycled and apparently for good reason. A brief perusal around the web to determine just how safe or unsafe these bulbs are in our homes yields - not surprisingly - conflicting information. Some say it's no big deal and others say essentially to run for the hills. My guess is, the truth is somewhere in between. But how would I know?
Given the extensive clean up recommendations by the EPA - amidst the same document intended to convince us to use them anyway, I'm a little concerned. Especially since the word on such recycling and clean up procedures isn't really making it out to the "masses"...at least that I know of. Admittedly, we haven't had regular TV in our house for a year now and so I am rather out of the "loop"...a "loop" made up primarily of "reality" shows and other associated fecal matter likely far worse than mercury poisoning, so maybe I missed the PSA's warning me about the signs of mercury poisoning. Hmmm...thinking about signs...maybe this is why I found about 14lbs of cat vomit on my bedroom floor yesterday?
Honey, do the cats seem unusually stupid today?
So WalMart wants to sell them to make a profit (no one else mind you...just WalMart and they apparently have some nefarious super powers over us that other retailers -less interested in profits - don't), the environmentalists want us to use them to save the environment outside our homes, and the government assures us the dangers are no big deal especially since they won't be responsible for the clean up expense or danger. In other words, no one really cares if the Hg ends up in your kids' bedroom. Well, get used to it folks...in the grand scheme you are on your own to figure this out. But, IMHO, it's not WalMart's pursuit of profits that you need to worry about, it's when environmentalists become pantheistic prophets to our secular government, and they respond with repentance like THIS. Please note the article makes no mention of Hg in the home. So, goodbye choice...I wonder, besides fire...how safe are candles?
Sooo...if the government BANS me from buying incandescent bulbs will they also take responsibility for ridding my kids' bedroom of Hg at fives time the safety level set by them? And will they also cover my kids' medical expense? Will they come clean up my cat's vomit?
I do some work in Iowa City, and last I heard they planned to mandate CFL bulbs by 2010. Of course, that just means you'll have to jump in your gas guzzler and drive 20 miles to the suburbs to get your non-poisonous light bulbs. But like all such policies, it's the thought that counts. Right?
DEP response to the story: http://mainegov-images.informe.org/dep/rwm/homeowner/pdf/prospecthistory.pdf
A blogger who knows abit about the biz: http://shotsacrossthebow.com/archives/002690.html
OUR problem is that the particular room in question is NOT easy to ventilate to the outside. So while I generally think no one is going to get sick...it's still a massive and concerning pain in the butt - especially when legos are apt to be ill-thrown in our house.
So, I am going to say NO to CFL's - except for outside. Having read the recommended cleanup SOP, I'm not interested in doing it again...or rather, having Susan do it again.