September 5th, 2011 2:56 PM by Taydus Taydus, AHWD, CNE, CRS, GRI
After reading the article below I remembered, from the
mercury containing oral thermometers of my childhood, that mercury posed a
health risk to humans (and laboratory animals.)
So I Googled some additional information and found an article supporting
the more expensive, but supposedly safer, LED lighting: http://www.bylorithomas.com/led-lighting-solutions-are-mercury-free-best-for-your-health/ as well as this “factsheet” outlining the “three
main health risks associated with energy saving lamps (CFLs): http://lowenergylampsinfo.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/factsheet-the-three-main-health-risks-associated-with-energy-saving-lamps-cfls/
I realize that there are arguments on both sides of this topic and a plethora of information out there on the Web however, since many of us have switched
over to the CFLs, I would be curious as to what your thoughts are on the
subject. Please post a “response” – all comments
Article courtesy of www.RISMedia.com
RISMEDIA, Aug 2,
2011—(MCT)—Just as the lights were dimming on the incandescent bulb, its future
is flickering with hope once again. Recently, Congress reopened the debate over
whether the shift to energy-efficient alternatives is smart environmental policy or merely
government intrusion into citizens’ lives. Never mind that a 2007 law signed by
then-President George W. Bush already called for all incandescent light bulbs
to be phased out nationally between 2012 and 2014.
Making the situation
more confusing for consumers: California began implementing its own phase-out
this year, ahead of the national mandates. The 100-watt incandescent bulb
already is banned here.
remains unclear, but with renewed questions about what kind of bulbs are best,
the Home section is launching an occasional feature in which we try to simplify
complex consumer decisions. With so many choices in how we equip our
homes—mattresses, water heaters, kitchen countertops, sheets (linen or
bamboo?)—we will sort through the overwhelming number of options, explain new
technology and provide a shopper’s cheat sheet.
In the case of
light bulbs, consumer choices seem to expand with every passing month.
Considerations for shoppers trying to sort out what they see on store shelves:
The reason why
incandescent bulbs were to be phased out is energy efficiency. The purpose of
the 2007 act was “to move the United States toward greater energy independence
and security.” Lighting accounts for 10 percent of U.S. household energy use,
and the incandescent bulbs traditionally used in our homes are simply
inefficient. Ninety percent of the energy that they produce is lost as heat.
alternative technologies are currently available. Halogen incandescent bulbs
use about 25 percent less energy than traditional incandescents and last up to
three times longer. Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, use about 75 percent
less energy and last up to 10 times longer. Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, use
80 percent less energy and can last the longest — up to 25 years.
alternatives cost more up front. Go to a big-box hardware store and a 60-watt
incandescent bulb—the most commonly purchased bulb in the U.S.—is about 60
cents when bought in a multipack. A halogen bulb that generates an equivalent
amount of light might cost as little as $1.50. An equivalent CFL might cost $2
to $5 apiece, depending on the brand and style. An equivalent LED is about $34
three alternatives deliver great savings in the cost of operation. A 60-watt
incandescent bulb costs about $4.80 per year to light, according to the U.S.
Department of Energy. The equivalent halogen bulb costs $3.50 per year. The
equivalent CFL costs $1.20. The equivalent LED costs $1.
American home has 50 light sockets. Upgrading just 15 of those sockets from
incandescent bulbs to CFLs would save more than $50 per year in electricity
expenses, on average, according to the Department of Energy. Though CFLs and
LEDs require a larger investment up front, they save money and reduce energy
usage in the long run.
bulbs work with a fila-ment, or wire, that is heated with electricity inside a
tube of air until the filament glows. A halogen bulb works similarly, except
the filament is heated inside a halogen gas capsule, which prolongs its life.
light by driving an electric current through a phosphor-coated glass tube that
contains the gas argon and a small amount of mercury—about as much as would fit
on the tip of a ballpoint pen. The mercury is necessary to absorb electrical
current and to prompt the phosphor to glow, creating light. That chemical
reaction needs extra electricity when the bulb is first turned on, which is why
CFLs take some time to reach full brightness. The base of each bulb must be
outfitted with electronics that control the flow of electricity.
electronics. They’re illuminated by the movement of electrons inside a diode,
usually a form of aluminum that can conduct electric current and generate
The majority of
Americans have grown up with incandescent lights, which mimic natural sunlight
and have a golden hue. They are dimmable.
have an almost identical light quality because they operate using filament
technology similar to incandescents. Halogens also are dimmable.
CFLs have long
been associated with light that is more blue—some would say unnatural or harsh.
Many companies now offer bulbs with different color phosphor blends designed to
look more natural, bringing out the red and yellow tones of skin, paint or
furniture. Dimmable CFLs are increasingly available.
LEDs are able to
mimic the hue of incandescents because their color is tuned electronically.
LEDs are also dimmable.
bulbs come in all sorts of shapes, wattages and colors. Consumers have fewer
options with CFLs and even fewer with LEDs, but choices are growing and prices
In many U.S.
cities, including Los Angeles, incandescent and halogen bulbs can be thrown in
CFLs and LEDs
require special treatment. CFLs contain the hazardous material mercury; in Los
Angeles, they need to be taken to a Solvents/Automotive/Flammables/Electronics
center, also called a SAFE center, or dropped off at a recycling center that
accepts CFLs. LEDs are electronics and need to be disposed as electronic waste,
much like an old computer or television. (c) 2011, Los Angeles Times.