Interviews + Opinion

Why Are CFLs Scary And Household Chemicals Like Ammonia Are Not?

Part of the backlash against compact fluorescent lamps has been that they contain mercury.

The argument doesn’t hold up on one level, which is that incandescent lamps require more power, which means power plants must burn more fossil fuels to satisfy that requirement, and thereby emit more mercury into the environment than CFLs. This type of mercury is aerosolized, is spread across the environment, and is more dangerous.

Part of the backlash has been to quote scary EPA requirements for cleaning up CFLs as a way to discredit their potentially positive environmental impact. I never understood the fear these requirements are supposed to produce. A lot of people use ammonia for cleaning, but look at the safety recommendations for handling that. What about bleach? What about other household cleaners?

Makes you wonder.

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Craig DiLouie


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