Thursday, May 24, 2007

CFLs and Mercury...

Being the good little stewards of greenness I'm sure most of you have already heard the news that the compact fluorescent lightbulbs that everyone is touting as environmental contain mercury. I was disappointed to hear this, but did some research. There is a risk, but according to Wendy Reed, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the long run the CFLs produce less mercury than the coal-fired power plants.

Check out this link to NPR.

The EPA is working with the retailers that sell the bulbs to start recycling programs as well. Ikea is the only one that has stepped up to the challenge so far. Apparently in some states it is illegal to throw away the bulbs, but even in those states few make the effort to recycle them.

GE is also concerned - though the levels of mercury are small in each individual bulb if the sales explode like anticipated (thanks to the BIG GREEN push) the levels of mercury hitting the garbage cycle will be huge. GE is looking at ways to decrease the amount of mercury and come up with better ways to recycle it.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Wow... crazy. Thanks for keeping us informed! I love reading the Green Girl's Guide to keep me up to date with the latest green (or not so green) news!