Can't help but wonder how many Left Coasters are hoarding incandescent
light bulbs. And why is the lamestream media ignoring the mercury
content of the fluorescents? Typical of social engineering solutions,
solve one problem and create two or more that are worse.
and this part was noteworthy
"Anxious to see what ratepayers got for their money, state utility
regulators have devoted millions of dollars in the past three years
for evaluation reports and field studies."
Possibly because we've been using florescent lightbulbs for over 100 years
without any controversy over Mercury.
Actually, the use of CFLs actually REDUCES Mercury contamination (in
general). The extra power required to generate the difference between
incandescent and CFLs means more coal has to be burnt. The Mercury generated
by burning the extra coal is greater than that in the CFLs.
Well, that's Don Klipstein's argument, which I sorta buy since he made
it and not you.
But that still begs the question of what really happens to all that
mercury from old CFLs. Believe me, I see busted twirly bulbs all over
the place. And just because we've had a totally blasι attitude toward
busted regular fluorescent tubes and the resulting release of mercury
doesn't mean that nothing bad ever came of it.
Can you say "cumulative toxin"?
(And just curious: why did you capitalize Mercury? You're not of German
descent, are you?)
Comment on quaint Usenet customs, from Usenet:
To me, the *plonk...* reminds me of the old man at the public hearing
Don't think so. If we've made the collective decision to live with the
hazards of coal-fired power plants, any overall reduction in the amount of
you-know-what has to be a plus. Most would consider a process to convert 90%
the mercury from a power plant into Fulminate of Mercury and scatter it
around the streets of Detroit to be meritorious.
Yes, but not five times real fast.
I also capitalized Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Cobalt-thorium-G because I was
taught in an earlier time to capitalize primary elements. Times have,
however, changed along with the rules for capitalization.
Thanks for pointing out my eccentricity and causing me to check. I'll
refrain from it in future so as not to horrify those who are a product of a
more recent education.
That really changed?
I remember when the lower case G changed. I learned it with a straight
line going down and then it changed to a curly line. Or maybe it was
the other way? Well, no one writes anymore so I guess it makes no
difference, but it puzzled me at the time.
I think Oxygen deserves to be upper case though. While most elements
are critical for something (Carbon comes to mind), where would we be
without good old Oxygen? That makes it more important than most things
that get the Honor of capitalization.
As for CFLs, my anecdotal evidence is that they do not last as long as
advertised. I did just read a big article in the newspaper about
needing to recycle CFLs, so the attempt to get the word out is
working. There was also a whole section on how to clean up after a
broken bulb. That thing was so scary that, in spite of being a good
old lefty, I want to run out and hoard some incandescents. It began
with "open the windows and leave the room for 5-10 minutes, taking any
pets with you. Turn off central heat or A/C".
Here, it was obviously referring to this from the EPA:
I mean really, do I want these things in my house?
My experience is that they tend to "fall short of claimed life expectancy"
in actual home usage, but in my experience they still greatly outlast
incandescents and more importantly use about 25-33% as much electric
energy to produce as much light as incandescents do.
That is an overblown cleanup scenario, slightly milder version of the
same story as the need for "moon suits".
That appears to me on the alarmist side, but still advises only 5-10
minutes of "airing out" the room in question.
And why leave HVAC shut off for a few hours afterwards? If there was
really a problem, would it not be better to blow it out?
For that matter, I remember recently LEDsMagazine.com describing EPA
in what I can describe for now "unkind words", as to how they were working
with (or otherwise) DOE for an "Energy Star" matter.
I also suspect for unrelated reason that USA's EPA is a bit
obstructionist. What is the most industrial city in North America,
north of the Rio Grande?
I seem to think Mississauga, though someone close to me suggested
to me the nearby Hamilton. Those two cities are not only north of the Rio
Grande, but also north of Lake Erie and on the Canada side of Lake
Ontario. I thought Canada is "more green" than USA - why having so much
industry in comparison to USA with 1/10 of USA's population?
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lower expenses, thanks to Canada's health care system. Toyota made
that quite clear a few years ago when it announced its decision to
locate a new plant in Canada instead of the southern US. Even though
the Canadian location mean a unionized workforce and thus higher
wages, it was _still_ cheaper for Toyota, due to the huge savings in
health insurance costs.
When you've got a major multinational corporation explaining that
financial reality to you, shouldn't you pay attention? Hey guys, don't
knock universal health care if it provides your country with a
competitive advantage. Which it does.
That's where Toyota didn't do their homework. There's no law that says an
employer has to provide health-care coverage.
Not yet, anyway. Unless things change, many employers (those with more than
"x" employees) will have to provide a government-sanctioned health insurance
If Toyota didn't offer health care they'd be UAW long ago.
Toyota has stayed close to UAW wages and benefits.
Toyota hasn't failed by going to Canada.
The U.S. has failed.
Looks like U.S. business can't even compete using a non-union work
Because every other industrialized country subsidizes health care for
Why should a business build here when it's cheaper to build in a
country where union costs are less than non-union costs here?
I disagree on two counts:
1. There are places in this country were unions are an anathema. Union
organizers face the same problems as a black Catholic priest (i.e., death).
2. In my view, many businesses move offshore because of taxes. The U.S. has
the 2nd highest corporate tax base (some 30+%) of any country on the planet.
The U.S. actually ENCOURAGES corporations to move offshore with these
What the U.S. should do, again in my view, is to eliminate the corporate tax
altogether. The corporation could pass the profits to the stockholders and
the government could tax these individuals. Or, instead of passing the
profits downstream, the corporation could use their profits to expand their
business, providing jobs and other economic gains.
That might be a good idea, but it's not so clear cut.
There's a wide discrepancy in U.S. corp effective tax rates.
Be a big fight about it and you know who will win - the lobbyists.
Many who happen to be former congress ctitters.
That's what's wrong here - no leadership, just partisan politics and
I read a couple articles about that plant going to Canada.
Favorable corp taxes was mentioned, and health care.
Other things too, like educated workforce and location.
And about $120 million from Ontario and the feds to sweeten the deal.
But according to the article below, it was education and health care,
and taxes weren't mentioned.
I don't know the tax implications.
And I understand Toyota built plants in Mississippi and Texas.
Might be strategic reasons for that Canadian plant that have nothing
to do with taxes or health care.
Looks like Canadians have a low opinion of how our southern states
BTW, this is old news. That plant started production in 2008.
"The factory will cost $800 million to build, with the federal and
provincial governments kicking in $125 million of that to help cover
research, training and infrastructure costs.
Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double
that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money
would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary
for the Woodstock project.
He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new
plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and
Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In
Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate
workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.
"The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is
so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said.
In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to
$5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care
system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.
"Most people don't think of our health-care system as being a
competitive advantage," he said.
Thanks for the link - it reinforces my observation. The ultimate paragraph
says it all:
"Companies in those industries where profit-shifting abroad is easier are
also more likely to invest in work forces abroad - which is yet another
reason why it may be especially timely for Congress to take up a corporate
Which relates directly to how dangerous the mercury is from a broken bulb.
What airborne mercury there is dissipates rapidly, there being no long
term chronic exposure to mercury. Even so, much remains bound up in the
fragments. Don't vacuum.
My general impression is that mercury content of CFLs is falling.
NVision (HD) claims 2.2mg to 3.3mg. I imagine others are following suit.
Sure, we have recycling centers.
It's hardly economical to burn up $3.00 worth of gas to carry a defunct
light bulb to the collection point.
Just thinking out-loud here:
Assume the following:
* 120 million households in the US
* Each disposes of 5 CFLs per year
* Each CFL contains 5mg of mercury
That works out (120,000,000 x 5 x 0.005) = 3 million grams of mercury
If this 3 million grams of mercury were distributed uniformly over the
country, that works out to about 3/4 of a gram per square mile, not even
If, however, these 3 million grams of mercury were concentrated - in
landfills for example - one could simply avoid those areas.
We COULD establish a used CFL repository - call it "CfL Object Containment
Area," or "CLOCA Mountain" for short.
Or we could redirect all defunct CFLs to a recycling center.
The current price of mercury is $600/36Kg ($0.02/g), or about $0.00001 per
CFL. If some entity recovered ALL the mercury in the above hypothetical, its
revenue would be... fifty thousand dollars per year (120,000,000 households
x 5bulb/house x .005g/bulb x 1Kg/1000g x $600/36kg = $50.000)
A significant sum indeed.
<SNIP from here>
I am sick-and-tired of how much some people say whatever this-or-that
which is not widely considered to have existed in the Garden of Eden being
some poison that requires zero tolerance.
As much interest as there is in mercury toxicity, if mercury was so bad,
would there not be some big number count of diagnoses of mercury poisoning
after the days when 4-foot fluorescents had 10-11 times as much mercury as
CFLs on average have, after the days when such 4-footers were allowed to
be dumped into regular trash by commercial and industrial users?
Even in the 1980's, 4-foot fluorescents had 40 milligrams of mercury
IIRC, and schools, offices, hospitals and retail stores were allowed to
dump those into "regular trash". 4-foot fluorescents were the main light
source used in such places at least since sometime in the 1960's, more
So even now with lawyers looking for opportunity like that of asbestos,
how many diagnoses of mercury poisoning do we have nowadays?
And how much mercury pollution is attributed to fluorescent lamps, and
how much is attributed to coal burning? The way I hear it, coal burning
is the mercury problem, and even was back in the bad old days of
1960's-1980's when fluorescent lamps had a lot more mercury than they have
now, let alone the even smaller amount of mercury that CFLs have.
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
Several years ago I recall some groups getting all exercised about the
alarming levels of mercury in Chesapeake Bay fish. "We're all gonna die!"
was the concerted uproar.
Then somebody wrangled a fish from the Smithsonian that was caught in
Chesapeake Bay in the 1860's.
Yep. The museum fish had higher mercury levels than the most recent fish.
What annoys me as a chemist is the general public thinks mercury in all
forms is toxic. If so, we'd all be dead from the mercury we handled as
kids or the fillings in our teeth or the Mercurochrome we used to use on
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