CFL Bulb Disposal

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On WCHE1520 radio, “Wellness 411 Show” yesterday, I educated my listeners on light bulbs. Actually, this is a health related topic because more consumers are forced to but Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. These CFL bulbs contain mercury. Mercury is a known nuerotoxin.

It used to be that Fluorescent light was only in the form of tubes used in offices/business. If you used them, you knew how to properly dispose of the tubes. But this was a small population and as of 2010, there is a reported 1% of mercury found in landfills. With more people now buying and using the CFL bulbs in our homes (as of 08-09)logic would have it that we will have more mercury waste in our environment. Our government is not informing the public of this fact, nor are they taking responsibility to inform the public of how to properly throw away an unused bulb.

This is what upsets me. Please pay close attention to the following instructions, if you happen to have an accident and break a CFL bulb:

1. Immediately open windows, vacate the room, close it off and do not return for 15 minutes.

2. Turn off the heat/ac forced air so that the mercury does not circulate.

3. Upon returning to the room, do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up with. pick up the fragmented glass and dispose in the recyclables.

4. Promptly clean up the mercury vapor powder now on the carpet/floor with tape (duck, electrical, masking) and then disposed in a glass jar. You cannot use a plastic bag because the mercury can escape.

5. After the cleanup, for several hours, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system off.

Wow, how many of you are blown away by this procedure and/or upset that you were never told? So now you know IF a bulb breaks what you must do…but what do you do with an unused bulb? You CANNOT dispose the CFL bulbs in the garbage OR the recyclables. They must be taken to a Center that has proper disposable units. In the Borough of West Chester, you may take them to the Sanitation Department located at 205 Lacey Street. Also IKEA, Ace Hardware and some Home Depot Stores have units.

How many of you want CFl bulbs now?

Lastly, starting this year the government has restricted the production of 70 and 100 watts incandescent light bulbs. What iyou see on the shelves is all there is! Soon, all watts of incandescent bulbs will cease to exist. i want the ability to choose! Especially when our landfills in 2-3 years time will be full of mercury!

What were they thinking? Saving our environment, really?

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