Friday, January 2, 2009

CFL Lightbulbs: Mercury Content Concerns

While the recent trend to change light bulbs to CFLs is a step toward energy efficiency, it is also a step toward indoor toxicity and pollution considering the unhealthy amounts of mercury they contain. A CFL bulb uses a whopping 75% less energy than its incandescent brother, it truly is an easy decision. But there are concerns over the amount of mercury that is currently capped at 5 mg by Energy Star. Some Energy Star light bulbs would not be able to be legally sold in Europe because their cap for mercury content is lower than the US.

Under the Bush administration, Energy Star has become a passive backseat passenger and a partner to the electrical industry, hopefully things will change in the coming year. For now, to take the guesswork out of which bulbs are safest to buy, refer to the Environmental Working Group's guide for the CFLs with lowest mercury content and highest lifespan hours. Be sure to avoid using CFLs in rooms and locations where they can pose a hazard to children. For more in-depth information on this topic visit EWG.

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