If you’re not careful, a simple light bulb can seriously endanger your health. But with a few easy precautions, you can keep energy-efficient bulbs from becoming toxic nightmares.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are a type of energy-efficient light bulb designed to replace traditional incandescent bulbs. Government regulations are already in place to phase out traditional, less-efficient bulbs; however, consumer watch groups and countless concerned individuals assert that this mandated switch may not be such a bright idea — at least where CFLs are concerned.
While CFL bulbs are supposed to be more environmentally friendly by using up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, there are real issues regarding CFL bulbs and their impact on health and the environment. The main concern? CFLs contain mercury, a heavy metal that poses serious health risks when the bulbs are broken during manufacturing, shipping, regular use or disposal.
In addition, CFLs emit a small amount of UV radiation, which may be an issue for some people, such as those with certain types of Lupus. The United Kingdom Health Protection Agency reports that at 12 inches or closer, low levels of UV radiation can be detected from a single envelope CFL bulb. The agency advises that susceptible individuals limit close-range exposure to these bulbs.
When broken, CFL bulbs pose significant health risks, exposing you to mercury. Strong precautions must be taken when dealing with a broken CFL bulb. Mercury is a dangerous toxin capable of damaging DNA, disrupting critical biological functions, impairing the nervous system and producing other serious and degenerative effects.
A 2011 report from Jackson State University presented a detailed analysis of mercury vapor release from CFLs. Eight different brands and four different wattages of CFL bulbs were tested.
Results showed that the mercury content varied significantly between brands. However, mercury vapor emission analysis revealed that all of the CFLs continuously released mercury vapors once they were broken, with mercury being released even up to 10 weeks after breakage. Total amount of mercury vapor released from a broken CFL can exceed 1 mg, which can cause mercury levels in a regular room to exceed the safe human-exposure limit. Additionally, the mercury leaching out from CFLs into the environment can be transformed into methylmercury, a highly toxic chemical that becomes concentrated at high levels as it travels up the food chain. Some States require that CFL bulbs be recycled to prevent additional mercury release into the environment.
Safe Handling Of CFL Bulbs
The breakage of unused CFLs during transportation, handling, sales and installation
causes even more release of mercury vapor than broken used bulbs. Since mercury vapor can be easily inhaled by people, rapid removal of broken CFLs and sufficient ventilation are critical safeguards to protect people from potential harm. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends precautions that include the wearing of rubber gloves, ventilating the area and restricting access for five to 10 minutes before cleanup begins. For detailed instructions on proper cleanup of broken CFL bulbs, click here.
The use of CFL bulbs is not mandatory. There are other energy-efficient choices, such as LED lights, which are safer, more efficient and longer lasting. However, LED bulbs are much more costly. The bottom line: Purchasing the right light bulbs requires a bit more consumer awareness, but for good reason. It’s up to us to choose energy solutions that benefit the environment and are safe for our health.
Total Body Detoxification
Mercury and other heavy metals wreak health havoc when they accumulate in our bodies. If you have concerns about your heavy metal body burden or if you have tested positively for high levels of mercury, lead or other environmental pollutants, there is a proven solution for safely removing these toxins from your body.
A comprehensive detoxification formula containing modified citrus pectin and sodium alginate is clinically proven to bind and remove up to 74 percent of heavy metals including mercury, lead and others over a period of three to six months. Made from a tailored blend of modified citrus pectin and seaweed-derived alginate, a gentle yet highly effective formula has been shown in published clinical trials to reduce heavy metal body burden without affecting levels of essential minerals (a common pitfall of other natural chelation methods). When used in conjunction with a phase two detox formula and a healthy diet and lifestyle, total heavy metal body burden can be significantly reduced. By supporting your body’s natural cleansing systems with a gentle, systemic detoxification program, you can help maintain your overall health and vitality, safely and effectively.
For more comprehensive health and detoxification information, visit www.dreliaz.org.