CFL’s soon to replace incandescent bulbs

I’m fanatical about saving electricity.  When compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) first appeared I knew they were ridiculously expensive but they promised to last two to three times longer and use almost a tenth of the electricity.   Naturally, I replaced every non-dimming light in my house.  I spent more than a hundred dollars  but I felt justified I’d make it up in the long-haul.

In truth since that day, about 3 years ago I’ve only replaced maybe half of the original bulbs.  I still don’t feel like I completely wasted my money.


A few weeks ago an old light fixture in my bathroom suddenly fell from the ceiling, shattering both the glass shade and CFL bulbs all around and on my feet.  Aside from being startled, I thought little about it.  I grabbed the vacuum and cleaned up the mess.  Little did I know I had been exposed to an element as toxic as lead.

Environmentalists and lefties, hang with me, this is serious stuff.  And TRUE.

CFL’s contain mercury.  Mercury is a heavy metal that is extremely toxic to humans.  Especially when inhaled.  Guess what?  When that CFL exploded in my bathroom the fine dust that was emitted contained mercury.  Because I failed to do any research and like every left-wing idiot I know, I trusted that government would not force a harmful product on me, I never read the disclaimers that accompany the bulbs.


Did you know that if a CFL breaks the EPA says you must:

  • Get your pets out of the room
  • Open a window and air the room out
  • Leave the room for 5-10 minutes
  • Turn off all AC, Heating, and fans
  • Do not use a vacuum or broom to remove debris
  • Scoop debris up using a stiff piece of paper or cardboard
  • Seal debris in a mason jar or sealable plastic bag
  • Use tape or wet wipes to completely remove all dust particles
  • Continue to air out the room without air conditioning for “several hours”

This sounds like a very serious toxic waste removal process if you ask me.

FURTHERMORE, you shouldn’t throw them away after they burn out.  WHY? Because they are 100 times worse for the environment than incandescent bulbs.  Click this to see what the US Geological Survey has this to say about the environmental dangers of mercury.

If the average American never reads those annoying software agreements and simply clicks “yes” then it stands to reason we won’t read the barely legible warning and instructions on a CFL package.  And it is an established fact that the overwhelming number of elected officials in Washington never read a word of any bill they vote on.  They simply vote as their vacuous party leaders tell them.


We were told lead paint and lead products had to be completely removed from everything because even the most remote possibility of exposure had to be eliminated.  It was for the safety of the children.  Yet now we are being forced to install mercury-containing light bulbs in the baby’s room.  In that lamp beside the crib.  You know the one baby will eventually knock over and break.

To stress the point…  What’s the point of keeping lead out of the wall-paint baby will likely never chew off the wall (now the dog is another story) but we’ll force you to put glass containers fill with toxic dust and gas all around baby.

So when I stumbled across this article on Real Clear Markets this morning something stuck me.  Nothing makes sense in a left-wing world.  On the one-hand we must save the planet, on another we have to protect people from everything – even themselves.  Saving the planet means forcing people to save energy as well as reducing pollution.

But what if these three ideals (pollution, energy, and protecting the public health) come into conflict?  Who wins?

Whoever has the louder voice and the smaller brain.

Environmentalist howl about power plants that release mercury but justify loading homes by force with the same toxic substance.  Blind-spot or stupid-spot?  The Earth911 post tells us one CFL “will contaminate more than 1000 gallons of water beyond safe levels.”  Yet they justify it by telling us to recycle and it will all be fine.  Why doesn’t this argument hold for lead paint?  You know, just make sure you sweep up the paint chips put them in a sealed bag and send them off to a recycling facility.

By the way, I found a broken CFL in the creek behind my house a few months back.


California Democrat, Jane Harman and Michigan Republican, Fred Upton, both Representatives in 2007 put forward the bill, the Energy Independence and Security Act.  President G.W. Bush signed it into law.  It was bi-partisan stupidity.

Why? Because they want to save energy.  Did anyone question the environmental impact?  Did any of these idiots even know what a CFL was?  Of course not.

Now Harman is gone but Upton is now the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  He promised hearings to remove the odious law but has done nothing.  I think first because he has to admit he is an idiot and second because there is no public outcry.  No out cry because we the people don’t yet understand how much worse CFL’s are than incandescents.


This bird was born without a beak due to high concentrations of mercury in the environment.

One of the effects of mercury exposure to the human brain is insanity.  (Ever hear the phrase “mad as a hatter”?  Comes from the 18th century where hat-makers used mercury in processing and many had emotional instability – read irrational fits of rage.)

If we begin releasing large amounts of mercury into the environment the problem of liberalism will only get worse.  Maybe that’s the plan!

Let’s face it who will follow the CFL recycling guidelines – let alone read them.  I’ll confess, I’ve thrown a dozen or more in the trash since 2007; completely unaware there was a hazard.

People, we are screwed as a culture.  We prance around all cocky opposing Christians because they make us feel guilty while embracing Muslims who want to kill us for our sin, we want to stimulate the economy but punish anyone who goes into business, and finally we outlaw lead because it’s harmful then force everyone to swim in mercury.

If the country continues to follow the crazies in California and leftists in Washington I’m afraid Rev. Wright’s famous 2001 hate-speech will become all too appropriate, (although in an entirely different context), “America’s chickens have come home to roost.”  Unfortunately they may not have beaks.


  • Genetic mutations
  • Birth defects
  • Damage to nervous system
  • Numbness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Blindness
  • Enzymatic alterations
  • Neurodevelopmental effects
  • Gastrointestinal damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Thyroid damage
  • Emotional instability ie: mood swings, irritability, nervousness, excessive shyness (insanity – my interpretation)
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Possibly cancer
sources:, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the EPA.
    • deg
    • June 9th, 2011

    Actually, You see it takes 125 cfl’s to make amount of mercury in a thermometer. They release a fraction of mercury into environment as does a regular Edison bulb, over lifetime (emissions at plant level). I never heard of lead in them. The level of mercury when broken is far below a truly dangerous level as well.

    Edison bulbs are 10 to 15 lumen per watt, halogen about 20 lumen per watt, cfl about 55 to about 85, and led about 230 lumen per watt at 4000 k at 1 watt in latest Cree Lab/about 150 lumen/watt in production Cree xml. Edison bulbs last about 1100 hours, Halogens (I recall) about 2000, CFL about 10,000 and LED (when properly heat sinked) 50,000 hour to half brightness when fully driven (unknown >100,000 when underdriven).

    I paid about $2.50 per cfl for my house (dollar store has some for a buck), and it really is a steal, compared to a buck an Edison bulb. Even at $.25 per Edison, it would still pay for CFL.

    If you worry about the mercury, buy led. I saw Lowes has some 50 lumen/watt leds (I bet Cree based) for about $5 per light. or go to and buy direct from China. Even at dealextreme–while not best/latest Crees–years ahead of the brick and mortar.

    Now, buyer beware, leds need to be heat sinked well or they will burn out in 1000 hours. Most Sears leds are low current or inefficient 20 lumen/watt 2001 technology junk. I have had a few CFL’s blow in a bad socket, or during power surge. So, quality will count.

    Do I think mandating CFLs is a good thing. I think because of foreign policy energy dependance, supply/demand effect on energy price (and food), YES, a very good thing. Many people are too cheap and dumb to make that initial investment to save themselves money. Do I give a flip about Mother earth? Only as it makes a great sales point to those that cannot grasp the finer points of the economy and political safety of the nation.

    • Incorrect. They release far more mercury than the trace amounts found in solder on incandescents. The environmental site earth911says CFL’s contaminate 1000 gallons of water. Not an incandescent. “It takes about five times the energy to produce a CFL as compared to incandescent lamps”…”Fluorescent lamps contain mercury, and most mercury finds its way into our food and our water by rain washing it out of the sky. The mercury contained in one standard fluorescent lamp will contaminate 6000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. Even low-mercury lamps (there is no such thing as a mercury free fluorescent lamp) will contaminate more than 1000 gallons of water beyond safe levels.”…”Both fluorescent and incandescent lamps may have lead components to solder the connections at the base, in the glass, and in the inside phosphor coating.”

      $3 per CFL compared to $0.60 per incandescent at Home Depot in my area. LED’s are around $8 per bulb. My experience is that LED lights are very dim and not useful unless you are simply trying to not walk into wall at night. The really bright ones are so expensive as to be impracticable.

      I see you’re point, F the people if we can save the planet. You say to acheive FP goals but I don’t see that. Good logic.

      Maybe we can screw the Muslims over by handing them a mutant population when we surrender to them. But seriously, I don’t think public health should take second place to any other public policy goal.

    • deg
    • June 9th, 2011

    Also, to debunk some myths, the Cree xml (the 160 lumen per watt emitter) can handle about 10 watts at about 100 lumen per watt.

    The other myth is that cfl and led have only cold light. Yes, you will loose about %15 (led) efficiency going with a warm emitter (or high cri), but the head room is there. Also, at craft stores, the best color rendering bulb is a CFL-you will pay for it. I have seen FL come a long way since the 80’s, as I frequently match paint colors to them.

    Personally, raised in Florida, I always hated Edison (amber yellow) bulbs. I prefer the neutral white and brightness that you don’t usually get with Edison. The blue shift of light is scientifically linked to waking you up, while amber light doesn’t interfere with your body natural sleep cycle (amber leds are better to read by at night). But I need that bright natural (or cold) in northern winter climates just to keep sane.

    • deg
    • June 9th, 2011

    One other point to consider: in wintertime, in northern parallels, the Edison works as a heater and a light source. This means all energy that is wasted goes toward heating the home. This means, when the heat is properly dispersed, all bulbs are %100 efficient during these months. The problem is that this heat is so hot that it immediately rises to the ceiling and is wasted. (slow, spread out, low radiant heat is best for heating a room.)

    I believe the theoretical max lumen per watt is about 340 ish, or at least somewhere north of 300. Just two years ago, most experts thought we would never see a 200 lumen/watt production emitter. So, even an led wastes much energy as heat. And, this heat is deadly to the life and efficiency of the led itself. Never buy a China made Walmart shower head light at this time. The Walmart leds are inefficient and not properly heat sinked.

    • deg
    • June 9th, 2011

    The real question to me: should selling low efficiency leds be outlawed ( two year old technology or <120 lumen per watt)? Clearly, they sell 2005 lux V's ( 20 lumen/watt leds to any sucker willing to buy–just to save $2-$4 on a twenty dollar flashlight.

    To me, probably not, just mandate lumen / watt rating on packaging in bold outline on front. If sold cheaply enough, there are some legit reasons to go less efficient. (Bridelux leds are known for low cost per lumen, but are still at about 100 lumen per watt.)

    • Wade
    • June 9th, 2011

    Funny that no one ever mentions the mercury in thermostats. Ever take the cover off a round thermostat in your home? The little vial in there contains mercury. Take a look.

    • Probably because you never accidentally break them. They last a very long time – in fact I’ve never replaced one in my life. It concerns me because light bulbs are routinely broken. I’ve broken at least 4 in the past year. 2 when the fixture fell, 1 I dropped changing the bulb, and the last when my kid dropped the bag containing freshly bought CFLs.

      That’s why we should be concerned. These are fragile, ubiquitous, and can rupture untouched. If you leave finger grease on the bulb it creates a weak spot and if the bulb get hot it can explode. Seen it happen with several types of lamps. Fortunately CFL’s don’t get that hot but in theory it could happen.

  1. You can always go out and buy any shop vac and dry wall dust catcher. This is little more than a five bucket you fill with water. The air is sucked through and it pulls out fine thin drywall dust before it hits your filter. If it can trap fine, light dry wall, I would feel comfortable it catching a heavy metal %100. Throw away sponges and eye droppers.

    I would just dump the water in rear of your yard, or dog water dish. Remember all mercury and lead comes out of ground, so put it back to natural environment.

    Also, better stop eating cold water fish, as one fish has more mercury than any cfl–I’d wage.
    This is because those self illuminating jellyfish, and like, of the deep use CFL’s to obtain their warm glow. What other explanation could there be?

    • Ben
    • June 21st, 2011

    On the one hand, we have a gov’t mandating a certain purchase, namely healthcare. On the other hand, we have the same gov’t mandating a certain purchase by removing choice.

    Looks the same to me.

    One is unconstitutional. By extension, the other should be as well.

    • Ben
    • June 21st, 2011
  2. Good point Ben, I will need to think about it. I think the main difference is, with health care, they are forcing you to buy something (skewing up demand, and over regulating supply-without any single thing to lower prices=higher prices), while with a cfl mandate, they are stopping companies from selling an inferior product (where with superficial lower price tag) the market would continue to buy the 3 cent edison marked up to $1.50 (plus tons of hidden energy), (raising supply on energy cost).

    So, here they are controlling the seller, not the buyer, into selling a superior product that is cheaper for the consumer in the long run. (Not to mention, the deadly realities on the macro level, of energy reliance and population growth.)

    Now (imagine a seller forced HC), if they forced (even subsidized) income based care, with cost cutting intern based clinics–all around the country, I might be for such a measure. %70 of the high health care costs are unessential (accounting fees, couch cushions, executive pay, & lawsuit prevention). And, such clinics would lower cost of care for those currently insured (supply and demand). But there IS NO “HEALTH CARE PLAN, NO OBAMACARE”, only “FORCED MIDDLE MAN MANDATE, OBAMA MIDDLEMAN MANDATE”.

    Forcing a seller to sell a cheaper (over long term) product does affect the buyer, so you have a point Ben! Forcing a buyer to buy something they do not need or want, is always unconstitutional. While forcing a seller to not sell snake oil (even when demand is there), is not. The sticky thing is: do we trust crooked idiots in government to make a wise choice in this area? If always no: then all driving, medicine, drug, housing codes–all are void. I guess to come down on the center of seller regulation: never mandate on seller when only protecting people from themselves. Energy use is drawing from a limited pool that everyone must share, with macro price and national security concerns. The market alone, as I have observed in last 30 years, will not make people drive more efficient cars, watch more efficient TVs, or use more efficient lighting. Only a minority of people are efficiency conscious (the educated, technically minded, struggling bill payer. (I bought all my CFL’s on manager special in 2005 for $2.50 a bulb; and haven’t needed to buy a bulb since. Except, where I desire to go below the 5 watt mark per bulb. While in the age of Edison bulbs, I constantly ran to the stores buying bulbs–affording only the yellow dim 40 watt.

    This unpolished rebuttal is off the cuff. And great point, Ben.

    If there was no seller mandate, cfl’s may not exist and the edison would still cost $5 a bulb. The retailers love mark up and only know how to do simple multiplication in their markups. A 10 cent item is sold to a middle man for 50 cents, to a second middle man (or store) for $2.50, then to the consumer for $5 to $10. This is reason a flashlight that costs a $.50 to make may be $5, one that cost $2 to make will cost $20, and one that costs $4 will be $40-$50, and so on. But adding the extra $3 to emitter will up the lumens from 20 to 100 and extra $5 will up from 20 to 150, but cost of end light goes from $5 to $100. I have observed this many times, and often it is easier to build your own flashlight/respirator/car (scratch car, or go to prison) etc. Market–due to games sellers play–are not always rational places. …

  3. I also forgot one point: to point out that led bulb sellers (cc crane) hate cfls, because they want you to buy the (presently immature emitters) led bulbs for $40 to $160 a pop. Since they advertise on conservative talk radio, this foments the issue. Also, energy suppliers, those vested in energy stocks–all hate this mandate. Then, you have the Alex Jones and other conspiracy theorists, who sell conspiracies. You will have no end to links bashing cfl’s.

    • Of course CFLs have both pros and cons when it comes to ennironmevtal issues. In the situation I describe, I can’t easily find any real benefits to using CFLs as opposed to incandescent bulbs. I’d like to hear about all the ennironmevtal benefits that I couldn’t think of — or that there are none. So when answering, use any definition of ecological that you can think of. Apr 22 at 17:23

    • Ben
    • June 22nd, 2011

    To me the product, be it HC or CFLs, are irrelevant to the issue of gov’t mandates controlling intrastate commerce. In the early days of settlement in this country, Britain prevented settlers from making their own farming tools, mandating that they purchase tools and other goods imported from England.

    Eventually, policies like that created the conditions leading to the revolutionary war with the rest being history as they say. At the end of the day, it boils down to whether or not we uphold the values given to us by the hard-won Constitution which makes this country remarkable and a place where others aspire to live.

    Little by little, we are chipping away at our values to the point where there is little distinction between this country and the rest of ’em making us less remarkable with each falling piece.

  4. CFLs are better solution, both economically and environmentally. They do save energy, but they also contain small amounts of mercury. Recycling mercury-containing products, including CFLs, is becoming an important issue. As this article states, it is important for consumers to realize that CFLs and fluorescent bulbs require special handling and disposal. Like all mercury-containing fluorescent lights, CFLs should be properly stored, transported and recycled to prevent these fragile bulbs from breaking and emitting hazardous mercury vapor. They cannot be thrown away in the trash, but should be taken to a recycling center or disposed of by using a proven recycling box. However, taking them to a recycling center may not always be the most efficient solution. Consumers can use a recycling box to ship bulbs instead. If consumers choose this option, it is important to select a packaging configuration that effectively contains mercury vapor. A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota tested the effectiveness of various packages in containing mercury vapor emitted from broken fluorescent lamps. The study found that many packages do not sufficiently contain mercury vapor, such as single-layer cardboard boxes (representing the original manufacturer’s box or container) as well as single layer boxes with a sealed plastic bag. Just one configuration—consisting of a zip-closure plastic-foil laminate bag layered between two cardboard boxes—minimized exposure levels below acceptable occupational limits, as defined by state and federal regulations and guidelines. Find out more about this proven packaging method at:
    If a bulb breaks, consumers can learn more about clean-up procedures here:

    • A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has found a poriuctdon method that could lead to cheaper LEDs within a few years.LED lights are a technology that most EcoGeeks are hoping to see in widespread distribution. LED lights can be even more efficient than compact fluorescent lights, and they don’t contain mercury like CFLs do. LEDs also have a much longer lifespan, and can operate for 10 times longer than fluorescents and 100 times longer than incandescents. They’re just still a little expensive, up to $100 / bulb.One problem with producing LEDs is that the substrate typically used for LEDs is sapphire, rather than silicon, which can be used for many other semiconductors. Many LEDs are made from gallium nitride which is grown into crystals at a temperature of around 1000 C (1832 degrees F). Unlike other electronic components, which can be fabricated on a silicon base, gallium nitride shrinks faster than silicon when it cools, which leads to cracking and failure. Sapphire has a rate of shrinkage and cooling that closely matches the LED compounds, which makes it a suitable substrate.The University of Cambridge team’s development is a method to make LEDs incorporating aluminum gallium nitride, which shrinks much more slowly as it cools, and allows the poriuctdon of LEDs on silicon wafers like other components. A 15-centimetre silicon wafer costs just $15 and can accommodate 150,000 LEDs making the cost per unit tiny. With the commercialization of this process, inexpensive LEDs may become available, and a superior alternative for lighting can help save billions of kilowatt hours of electrical demand.via: New Scientist

  5. Ben :
    To me the product, be it HC or CFLs, are irrelevant to the issue of gov’t mandates controlling intrastate commerce. In the early days of settlement in this country, Britain prevented settlers from making their own farming tools, mandating that they purchase tools and other goods imported from England.
    Eventually, policies like that created the conditions leading to the revolutionary war with the rest being history as they say. At the end of the day, it boils down to whether or not we uphold the values given to us by the hard-won Constitution which makes this country remarkable and a place where others aspire to live.
    Little by little, we are chipping away at our values to the point where there is little distinction between this country and the rest of ‘em making us less remarkable with each falling piece.

    Well, the horse to totally out of the barn in regards to regulating the seller. If you are just realizing this, then you are the Lobster who was boiled in the Pot long ago! (Your Meds to your Lawn Care.) There is hardly a product sold that is not heavily regulated. The big companies like this, since regulations generally push out the small guy, allowing for monopolies. Under the Nazi rule, they would put so many regulations in place, that all businesses would fail. The government could then come in and set up their monopoly. For example, for restaurants one regulation is that they could not have square tables (only round) so people wouldn’t hurt themselves on the corners; this change would cost an owner thousands (pushing out some small owners).

    The regulation on the buyer is a new one. One that Obama, democrats, and most Republicans, do not see any Constitutional Problem. To me, there is not only an UNPRECEDENTED problem, but this regulation is utterly pointless and harmful to the buyers (law of supply and demand is a LAW, not a possibility!).

  6. For those in the “slow” class, Liability insurance is very different from OBuyersurance. Liability you are providing proof that you will cover another person’s financial loss when you hit them, and you choose to drive. Driving is a privilege.

  7. Brad Buscher :
    Just one configuration—consisting of a zip-closure plastic-foil laminate bag layered between two cardboard boxes—minimized exposure levels below acceptable occupational limits, as defined by state and federal regulations and guidelines. Find out more about this proven packaging method at:
    If a bulb breaks, consumers can learn more about clean-up procedures here:

    I see the epa is not recommending cutting out the part of the carpet where the cfl broke, as claimed by the LED sales people.

    I know the amount of mercurcy in cfls was reduced recently. Will there be a replacement one day with another material? I am wonder about the opening a window tip: obviously mercury doesn’t sublimate or evaporate at room temperature, you would need to lick it off the floor after cleanup to be affected. But at operation temperature, this implies the mercury is a vapor. And on breaking a cfl (if true), a better choice would be to immediately vacate the room (holding breath), wait let vapor cool and settle, then throughly vacuum the entire room, throw away the filter (or use dry wall dust catcher. If this is not necessary, then logically, there is no real danger in the bulbs to begin with, and the danger is more theoretical than real.

  8. Also, I would wash all clothes and linens that were in a 15 foot radius of the breakage.

    Working maintenance on commercial buildings, you cannot help but be around many breaking, commercial Florescent Bulbs (which have much more mercury than home cfls per lumen). It is cool to watch the swirling vapor escape from the exploding glass 🙂 These are normally (really always) just tossed into the big dumpster with all the other trash.

    We also used to chase the little balls of Mercury (from a broken thermometer) around without chewed on pencils in Science class. The good old days, ahh…

  9. What’s up colleagues, its fantastic post about teachingand entirely explained, keep it up all the time.

  10. Haha! That’s hilarious! (You ARE jkoing, right?)Nice blog. I got here by searching gross soy sauce because someone told me the way soy sauce is made is gross. Not sure what they meant. BTW I’m white, and sometimes store soy sauce in the fridge, sometimes not. Depends on how daring I’m feeling.

    • Anonymous
    • March 1st, 2014

    A couple of updates since this was posted.

    Philips announced it will launch a 200 lpw cfl replacement in 2015, using a new led mixing tech. (Current led lamps loose half the lpw in electronic drop. now near 100 lpw. So, those Cree 200 lpw mk-r leds don’t quite equal a 200lpw lamp.)

    2014 hit, and ban is on. One guy is making multi filiment incan as a way around the ban-at $4 a crappy 11 lpw bulb.

    As far as longevity of LED bulbs look for efficiency and heatsink! One guy also has some perspective here:

  11. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on led down lights.


  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply or add your opinion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: