Busted Fluorescent Lamps’ Dangers Cited

This issue will soon arrive in the U.S.

The Manila Bulletin reports,

Environment-health advocates on Monday warned the public against improper disposal of busted fluorescent lamps as it releases toxic mercury into the environment that endangers the health of the people.

Environmental health groups aired this warning after conducting “photo documentation” to find out how spent lamps are disposed of by “small quantity waste generators,” or entities that accumulate less than 100 busted lamps a year.

With the help of “Basura Patrollers” from the Diocese of Caloocan Ecology Ministry, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, and Mother Earth Foundation, relevant photos were taken at random last January 24-27 along Metro Manila streets.

The photos were mostly taken via cellphone from garbage bins and heaps in pavements and sidewalks in the cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, San Juan, and Quezon.

“Our investigation confirms the unsafe practice of simply leaving or throwing mercury-containing lamp waste in the streets as if these were just candy wrappers,” Manny Calonzo of EcoWaste’s Basura Patroller said.

“Busted lamps were dumped with typical trash or left by the roadside, picked up by garbage collectors, sometimes crushed in compactor trucks and then hauled to municipal waste landfills for final disposal,” he added. “This is very disturbing since these spent bulbs are no ordinary discards. Reckless disposal can lead to lamp breakage and the discharge of its mercury content in vapor form,” he pointed out.

Citing information from a government-published “Primer on Mercury-Containing Lamp Waste Management,” the groups said that tubular fluorescent lamps can contain 3 to 50 milligrams of mercury, while compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can contain 1 to 25 milligrams of mercury.

It noted that the health impacts of mercury release and contamination can include brain damage, memory loss, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, loss of sensation and vision, tremors, heart disease, kidney failure, liver injury and reproductive system damage…

Read the entire MB report.

4 thoughts on “Busted Fluorescent Lamps’ Dangers Cited”

  1. “Why all the GOP concern for mercury in CFLs but not the much larger mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants?” Because, a broken twisty bulb can expose persons in the room to a concentration of mercury vapor that approaches half of the OSHA 8-hour permissible exposure limit. Exposure to the mercury vapor in the exhaust of coal-fired power plants is a miniscule fraction of a concentration that can possibly cause harm to health.

    A better question is “Why are we constrained to use these things when the amount of energy that they save will probably never pay for their cost?” If you add the cost of proper disposal of the infernal things to their initial cost (e.g. the gasoline to and from the disposal site), their total cost dwarfs the amount of energy that they save. I think it has to do with climate paranoia, which is an irrational fear. This is just another example of politically correct nonsense.

  2. Why all the GOP concern for mercury in CFLs but not the much larger mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants? As a guy named Anthony would say, “Watts up with that?”

    Crocodile tears for pollutants is a time-worn GOP tactic. Suddenly you’re environmentalists when it gives you a (weak) angle to bash efficiency or pollution-control measures. You see it all the time with “conservative” rebuttals to anyone who wants to protect nature from human excess. You ignore the larger context and dwell on one detail. The non-thinkers who buy into your logic are too shallow to add their own context, so it becomes part of the echo-chamber.

    It would be better if you’d just admit (as thinking people can easily see) that you respect money a lot more than nature. The problem is that money is an artificial human construct and the whole human enterprise is made possible by nature. See “putting the cart before the horse.”

  3. Our government obviously didn’t look at the “big picture” regarding twisty light bulbs. Did they really think the public would spend the time and money to take burnt out CFL light bulbs to a recycle and not throw them in the trash?

  4. It is almost a defining characteristic of Progressives and their ‘reforms’ that they do not consider for a moment how other people unlike them are going to respond to the reform measures the authoritarians are cramming down their throats.
    Proper disposal of waste (broken or non-functioning) fluorescent lamps requires an investment in equipment, procedures, and manpower that does not become cost effective (and therefore does not occur) for small-quantity waste generators.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.