I had to write an article on CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs) a while ago. If you go to the EPA site you will hear about how much money they can save you! If used properly you can save up to $15/month! But here's the catch...
- They really shouldn't be used in bathrooms (the steam gets to them...shortens the life span)
- You can't but them in enclosed light fixtures...shortens the lift span (check your house - I'll bet your ceiling fans, bathroom and external fixtures are all enclosed...you'll have to replace those)
Okay, so maybe you won't have to replace the fixture. If you don't, however, you'll be changing your CFL every year, instead of every 5-10 years (like they promise).
Let's take my house as an example: 12 enclosed light fixtures with incandescent bulbs ($0.84 each) would cost $10.08 per year for light bulbs. If I don't change those fixtures, then the new 'more efficient' CFL's ($4-14 each) will cost me at least $48 per year.
And what about the environmental impact?
According to the EPA, the maximum contamination level (MCL) of mercury a human can have in water is 0.002 mg/L. SOME CFLs have 1 mg of mercury...most have 3-5 mg. While that may not seem like a lot, lets say I replace 12 light bulbs a year - that's 36-60 mg of mercury in the local landfill. And that's just one house.
In 2000 the population of Elk Rapids was 2700. Let's play it safe: there are 2,000 people here. They only have five enclosed light fixtures in their homes - they have to replace those every year. That's 10,000 light bulbs, and and anywhere from 10,000 - 50,000 mg of mercury going into our landfills.
Okay, let's go a step further and say that EVERYONE in Elk Rapids disposes of the light bulbs properly (which isn't easy to do - the easiest way is to save them up and mail them to a disposal company, because most landfills won't accept them). So you get this box, you fill it with CFLs so you aren't dropping mercury in your own backyard.
So where does it go? Is it miraculously converted into something safe and useful? Nope...it's shipped overseas. They just dump the poison in someone else's yard.
Why does it make these people hypocrites?
Because as environmentalists talk about "green" standards for third world countries (because we need to save them!) they are dumping our toxic waste there at the same time. I can't even tell you how disturbed I was to read this.
Do your research (and that means opening your minds past what the government says and past what Fox News says). Start looking into these things - find out what's really happening. Because you aren't going to save yourself that much money, and while you may delay your own mercury poisoning for a while, you ARE poisoning someone else.