With all the CFL around how can people be so blind?
It always saddens me to see folks take a personal stance on something that could be more easily treated as factual. Allow me to explain. There has been a huge amount of press over CFLs and the mercury they contain. Lets get a couple facts on the table.
- Fluorescent bulbs could easily be called mercury vapor bulbs.
The reason being as you can see quoted from the above link;
A fluorescent lamp is a gas-discharge lamp that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor in argon or neon gas, resulting in a plasma that produces short-wave ultraviolet light. This light then causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light.
- Putting too little mercury in a bulb means it is consumed faster.
Consumed faster means more mercury going into the landfills now.
Ok. Pretty simple, so as you can see there is a sweet spot to how much mercury must be in a bulb to create a truly positive environmental impact. If you put too much you create a problem at disposal time. If you put too little you increase the frequency of disposal. Either way is likely to have a negative impact on the environment either by providing more waste directly, or by using more fossil fuels to recycle the failed bulbs.
This seems like an area for more study. Which is why when I see a company like Wal-Mart come out stating they will be forcing their suppliers to lower the mercury levels I realize the whole ordeal is one of two things. Its either a poorly thought out environmental attempt, or its just an attempt to grab press coverage on something thats currently a hot topic of discussion. Either way I think Wal-Mart belongs making decisions in CFL engineering as much as George Bush belongs in making decisions about nuclear particle physics.
Do your homework, or don't let facts get in the way of your preconceived opinions. Just be prepared for someone to call that bluff.