Proper Disposal of Batteries and Electronics > Mercury Poisoning | Health Hazards of CFL’s and LED’s

A week ago I had a conversation with a few people at an art gallery, triggered through the woman’s art, which portrayed all of these different fungi, lichens and ferns. I wouldn’t have noticed this on her paintings at first, had another woman not pointed these out, because of her familiarity with these types of species. A guy there, engineer I believe, mentioned that we all talk about the dangers of a warming earth, but what concerns him more is the improper disposal of batteries (of which the modern world has a prodigious amount) which contain mercury. He’s more worried about heavy metals. Mercury leaking into soil and water is not a good thing. If the mercury in batteries and metals in electronic devices are not recycled or disposed of properly, these heavy metals can leak into soil and water. Here are some fact sheets about mercury.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs361/en/

He delivered this information which I absolutely had no clue about, that the fairly recent countrywide switchover (in the USA) from the standard incandescent bulbs 60, 75 and 100 watt light bulbs to (CFL) compact fluorescent light and (LED) light-emitting diode, is of much more concern, because they emit radiation and contain mercury. Turns out that the former standard was of low cost, safe to make, inexpensive to produce and safe if they break (except for broken glass). Turns out the new (longer lasting) low energy bulbs are more expensive, and potentially harmful.

Someone – a handful of companies – have made a lot of money, as the entire country stopped the production of the former, removing them from the market entirely, as if they were toxic, to replace them with the twisty/coiled ‘lower energy’ bulbs – CFL’s – that actually are toxic. They are said to potentially emit higher levels of radiation.

Energy blog National Geographic Health Concerns with Light

Energy blog National Geographic Health Concerns with Light

“As it turns out, all fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury vapor, which emits a lot of UV rays when hit with an electric current.” This article by NPR discusses it.

This gentleman said that “If one were to break in your home, you should immediately get out of that room so as not to inhale the fumes, and be careful of how you dispose of them; they are too toxic to put in normal trash.

How did this happen, without anyone having a clue of their repercussions? What kind of marketing and government subsidies did this manufacturer(s) receive? There seem to not be many. Wait a moment. Frankly, I just want to get this post out there for you, the reader, to be aware and to investigate for yourself how much you want to use this type of lighting.

National Geographic has an informative article “Separating Myth From Fact on CFL and LED Light Bulbs: Five Concerns Addressed

More importantly, go through the effort when discarding old batteries, bulbs or electronic devices, to go to a recycling center near you that will dispose of these materials properly, rather than just throwing it in the trash.

I need to post, and leave mistakes until i have internet access to edit! Sorry, limited time presently! I’m teaching skiing at https://skisantafe.com and it’s spring break, crowded!

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