Questioning CFLs - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-08-2010, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It seems almost like dogma that we're supposed to swap all of our conventional lightbulbs for the "green" CFLs. But I recently learned that they contain mercury (!!!) and require special HAZMAT disposal. What are the trade-offs between the two options? Which do you use and why?

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Old 07-08-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:10 AM
 
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We use them. They do contain mercury so require special care to make sure you don't break them, but you can take them to numerous stores for disposal - it just means that you don't just chuck'm in the trash when your done, you really *NEED* to be recylcing them.
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:09 AM
 
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I don't use them anymore because mercury has caused me a host of health problems. I hope they come out with some that don't have mercury so we could use them for environmental reasons. But I'm just not willing to take the risk right now.

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Old 07-09-2010, 11:24 AM
 
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As my bulbs wear out I am planning to replace them with LED light bulbs. They are more energy efficient than CFL's and contain no mercury. Also one blub is supposed to last 20 YEARS!
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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My understanding: Yes there is a tiny amount of mercury, but it is way less than would be released by a power plant that needs to provide more energy to power the less efficient bulbs. For us, disposal has been easy. Our Home Depot takes them as does our recycling center. The only bad thing is that we have found we have a few fixtures that burn them out in a short amount of time. I think that there might be variable current in those fixtures. I saw that there are now CFL for dimmer switches, so maybe those would work in our bulb eating fixtures.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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As my bulbs wear out I am planning to replace them with LED light bulbs. They are more energy efficient than CFL's and contain no mercury. Also one blub is supposed to last 20 YEARS!
Ooh, awesome! I hate that the old type are not energy efficient and now we can get something to replace them.

:::
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:39 AM
 
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We lived in a house with 1950's wiring, and there was one ceiling fan that we couldn't put them in - they would make a popping sound and start to MELT! They'd have a burned-looking place on them. Pretty scary.

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Old 07-11-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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But what happens if you accidentally break one? would the mercury vapours released be sufficient quantity to become an even temporary health hazard?

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Old 07-11-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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A few months ago my 15yo son got an urge to see what was inside the bulb so he broke one. I called poison control and they gave me a huge list of directions for how to decontaminate his bedroom, but only after telling me it wasn't enough mercuryt o be dangerous.

I took practical steps to wet-wipe the furniture and washed his duvet cover in hot water and then vacummed with my HEPA vac. Then I tried to put it out of my mind. As these bulbs go, they'll be replaced with good ol' fashioned incandescent lights, assuming they are still on the market. If not, maybe I'll finally be brave enough to go with olive oil lamps! LOL

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Old 07-14-2010, 12:24 PM
 
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If not, maybe I'll finally be brave enough to go with olive oil lamps! LOL
I've been so tempted to switch to candlelight but no way would my DH go along with it.

And then I have to remind myself how often houses burned down in the past.

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Old 07-14-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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Yeah, we're using incandescent until LEDs are readily available at a reasonable price. I think they are $40 or more per right now.

I'm more worried about the mercury (the amount of mercury in vaccinations were supposedly "not enough to be dangerous") and we don't use lights all that much anyway. I *do* use candle light and oil lamps. Not exclusively, but if I'm sitting on the couch reading, I'll use my LED booklight and have candles/lamps to illuminate the room.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Most of our fixtures/lamps cannot handle the CFLs. Can't say I am too disappointed. The few we have make weird noises. We don't use a lot of lights anyway most of the time.

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Old 07-14-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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Try an LED before you commit.

We bought one and the light quality was so awful we'd rather live in the dark.

It's the same kind of light from those car headlights you see where you get an instant headache just passing by one, you know?

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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Old 07-14-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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Try an LED before you commit.

We bought one and the light quality was so awful we'd rather live in the dark.

It's the same kind of light from those car headlights you see where you get an instant headache just passing by one, you know?
The ones that give me headaches are the xenon headlights. I didn't know they made LED headlights. Those probably would give me a headache too!

My dh brought an LED home (probably from the university, I'm not sure where he got it, but it wasn't for keeps anyway) and I actually was O.K. with the lighting. Maybe it depends on the lamp shade you are using. We had it in the lamp only for an evening, but I liked it better than the CFLs.

And another thing I didn't mention in my earlier post... CFL and any florescent light also triggers my rosacea... and they make my rosacea look worse - people without rosacea look red in the face, let alone those with the condition. Ugh.
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:06 AM
 
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I really like the CFL's. they do save me money over the incandescent bulbs. I don't mind the light at all, I actually prefer my CFL's in a floor lamp to the incandescent bulb in the ceiling light.

I wish they would make them without the plastic, but I'm not that worried about the murcury. It's a small amount, and I've only broken a CFL once. Even then, I didn't worry too much. Maybe I'd worry more about a broken one with kids around though.

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Old 07-15-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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Has anybody else seen this from 2 yrs ago?

REP. Ted Poe Republican Texas speaking in the U.S. House on the energy savings bill and the mandatory use of CFL light bulbs. From C-SPAN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv59PJ30WeM

I don't know how true it is, but it made me have major doubts about using CFLs. I have a few, but I won't be replacing them without seriously researching them.

Part-time L&D RN and Full-time Mama to Xander 4/01 & Carly 6/08
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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As my bulbs wear out I am planning to replace them with LED light bulbs. They are more energy efficient than CFL's and contain no mercury. Also one blub is supposed to last 20 YEARS!
I am going to look into this, we have changed almost every CFL we have in the 4 yrs we have lived here and they are too pricey to change so often. Especially since they are suppose to last a "long" time.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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Old 07-16-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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Yes there is a tiny amount of mercury, but it is way less than would be released by a power plant that needs to provide more energy to power the less efficient bulbs. For us, disposal has been easy. Our Home Depot takes them as does our recycling center.
this is true. you can get "low mercury" cfls or led bulbs. LEDs are getting better all the time.

Check October, 2009 Consumer Reports for reviews of CFL bulbs. Avoid IKEA CFLs! They scored very badly.
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Old 07-16-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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ummm they aren't all the same? lol

Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing
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