Banner
    Mercury poisoning of Chinese factory workers making CFLs a concern
    By Helen Barratt | September 20th 2010 02:02 AM | 23 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    According to this article written in May 2009 by Michael Sheridan in the Australian newspaper and also reported in The Times in the UK, thousands of Chinese factory workers who manufacture 'environmentally friendly' mercury compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for export to first world countries have been poisoned and hospitalized because of mercury exposure over the last decade. 

    “68 out of the 72 workers at the Nanhai Feiyang lighting factory in Foshan city where were so badly poisoned that they required hospitalization. At another CFL factory in Jinzhou, 121 out of 123 employees were found to have excessive mercury levels with one employee's mercury level 150 times the accepted standard. See wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp

    “Dozens of workers who were interviewed on condition of anonymity, described living with the fear of mercury poisoning. They gave detailed accounts of medical tests that found numerous workers had dangerous levels of the toxin in their urine.”

    “CFLs, like all fluorescent lamps, contain small amounts of mercury as vapor inside the glass

     

    tubing. Because mercury is poisonous, even these small amounts are a concern for landfills and waste incinerators where the mercury from lamps may be released and contribute to air and water pollution. Health and environmental concerns about mercury have prompted many jurisdictions to require spent lamps to be properly disposed or recycled rather than being included in the general waste stream sent to landfills. It is unlawful to dispose of fluorescent bulbs as universal waste in the states of California, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

    In the European Union, CFLs are one of many products subject to the WEEE recycling scheme.”

    For some bizarre reason, special handling instructions for breakage are currently not printed on the packaging of household CFL bulbs in many countries. Even though the Maine Government
    study showed that the amount of  mercury released by one bulb can greatly exceed U.S. federal guidelines for chronic exposure. See http://maine.gov/dep/rwm/homeowner/cflreport.htm.

    Chronic however, implies that the exposure continues constantly over a long period of time and the Maine DEP study noted that it remains unclear what the health risks are from short-term exposure to low levels of elemental mercury.

    "The Maine DEP study also confirmed that, despite following EPA best-practice cleanup guidelines on broken CFLs, researchers were unable to remove mercury from carpet, and agitation of the carpet—such as by young children playing—created spikes as high as 25,000 ng/m3 in air close to the carpet, even weeks after the initial breakage"

    "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that, in the absence of local guidelines, fluorescent bulbs be double-bagged in plastic before disposal.The Maine DEP study of 2008 compared clean-up methods, and warned that the EPA recommendation of plastic bags was the worst choice, as vapours well above safe levels continued to leach from the bags. The Maine DEP now recommends a sealed glass jar as the best repository for a broken bulb."

    Because fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury which is poisonous to humans and animals, sealed within the glass tubing. EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal steps, if a bulb is accidentally broken in the home, factory or supermarket: See http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.htm

    Before Cleanup

    Air Out the Room Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

    Cleanup Steps for Hard Surfaces


    Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.

    Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.

    Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.

    Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

    The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

    Cleanup Steps for Carpeting or Rug

    Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.

    Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.

    If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.

    Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

    Cleanup Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials

    If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away.

    Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.

    You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken
    CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct con tact with the materials from the broken bulb.

    If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes
    in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.

    Disposal of Cleanup Materials

    Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.

    Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.

    Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

    Comments

    Gerhard Adam
    I actually have a much simpler solution .... I don't use the blasted things. Anything that comes into my house that requires me to use a HazMat suit or materials to dispose of isn't worth my consideration.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    And the frequency range of the ballasts they use may be making your pets insane.   Bring on the next-gen LEDs for me.  I don't care how much CFLs are subsidized or how much sites like Treehugger sell out for their anything-but-current-technology agenda, I am not using them.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    In Australia we have no choice but to use mercury CFLs as the ordinary electric light bulbs are no longer available to buy. The government has banned them! So look out America and Britain, you could be next.

    You might have noticed that I have mentioned in earlier articles that my mother died last year after developing Motor Neuron Disease (MND or ALS). Well she developed the symptoms shortly after the local council employed subcontractors to fit mercury CFLs in all of the old age pensioners houses for free.

    My parents had many angled light fittings in their ceilings, and my mother told me that they had a hell of a job forcing over 30 bulbs into these sockets. The instructions say that the bulbs are fragile and must not be forced or they can start leaking mercury. One month later she developed the first symptoms of MND, which for the record are identical to mercury poisoning. I intend to do a blog about this connection one day. When I rang the subcontractors to find out if they had kept a register of broken bulbs that occurred during these fittings, they said that they had, but they wouldn't tell me how many had broken at my parents house and the council was no help.

    I don't think that everyone exposed to mercury will develop symptoms of mercury poisoning or MND, however there are definitely people who are predisposed to having more problems than others. The mercury poisoning in teething powder for babies showed that only 1 in 500 babies became really ill. I think that it will mainly affect people who already have a high exposure to toxins already in their lives, like most old people and people who have genetic conditions and predispositions that interfere with their ability to excrete heavy metals, such as haemochromatosis for example. Anyway, forcing these bulbs on to the public without making them aware of how to even dispose of them when they break, is just not acceptable.

    When my mother became ill, supposedly with MND/ALS, we joined a group of MND sufferers and their carers. It has long been recognised that certain professions have a much higher incidence of MND, these include school principals, matrons and ballistic experts. In our group of 10 sufferers we had 2 principals, one matron and one ballistics expert. I asked them all if they had been exposed to broken fluorescent lights, and all of them had repeatedly cleared up broken fluorescent bulbs and CFLs as part of their jobs. None had used any protection or even been aware of the hazards when they were doing this. Most of the others in the group had had similar unprotected exposure to broken CFL bulbs.

    I went to a MND memorial service attended by a PHD researcher into MND and his assistant and I mentioned my concerns to them about mercury poisoning and MND and they said that yes, there did seem to be some sort of link, and that someone ought to look into it more. Especially as there was a sudden increase in Australia of MND. They asked me to send them the details.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Aitch
    Apparently certain CFL units also affect older types of hearing aid, causing loud buzzing in the ears, necessitating either turning off the light or the hearing aid - rum choice if it's night time Aitch
    Aitch
    Thanks Helen, good public concern article Considering that the UK Government sent people FREE boxes of 10 CFLs, it is a great shame that, to this day, NO safe disposal method is listed on packaging, or on an info flyer iinside the package. This info could save many people's and pet's lives!! The dubious 'environmental benefits' have been published by people convinced only by the end user's product energy use, rather than the full product cycle energy use, which is now far exceeded by Hi Power multiple LED lamps However, lets be clear, even high power LEDs as manufactured now, use toxic materials in manufacture, and are mainly, like CFLs, made in China Neither proper environmental audits, nor recycling of hazardous wastes sold into common usage, is being addressed with any seriousness, and public concern remains low as the medical profession, who will get called upon to deal with casualties are not 'up in arms' about these dangerous 'growth industry products' Come on you safety conscious Biologists/Medics/Lab Techs, Doctors and Managers - Get the message out to an under-informed public at risk The question of saved energy on the number of required power stations is hardly affected by this move to low energy bulbs, as the size of power stations is already way over estimated and night time energy output is soaked up in street lighting to save winding the generators down to unstable levels The need to supply your own energy, is probably the best way to get people to change their mindset on energy usage and waste by-products Aitch
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Thanks Henry and I totally agree with you.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    SynapticNulship
    Ummm...where is the evidence of CFLs leaking without smashing the glass? From what is presented here, it appears that, like normal fluorescent tubes, CFLs only leak when you smash the glass. You would have to provide evidence of faulty seals or something like that for me to start worrying that I am surrounded for most of my day with fluorescent lights.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Yes your right Samuel, if the bulb is not smashed or faulty you should be OK.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    For anyone who's interested, here is the link to the 160 page Maine Study, which tested the smashing and clearing up of many different types of CFLs, on several different surfaces, the results are pretty interesting. They found that many of the CFL bulbs contained a lot more than 5 mg of mercury and that the room needed to be evacuated for longer than 15 minutes when some were broken, they also said to never use a vaccuum cleaner to clean up the mercury. See http://www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/homeowner/cflreport/cflreport.pdf
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    In 2002 I wrote a submission for an environmental group to the Queensland, Aus, EPA department concerning the disposal of CFLs and materials from electronic devices. I pointed out dangers that even then were well documented in the literature, so much so that Europe already had legislation underway to address the problem. Yet the EPA laughed at my conclusions, stating I was being alarmist. Electronic waste disposal is a huge problem.

    A recent study in the USA found that 8% of women had unacceptable mercury levels. Coal fired power stations are big emitters of mercury.
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-04-01-fish-usat_x.htm

    Be very careful with fish consumption. Lots of tuna is problematic, swordfish just shouldn't be on the table.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Keep up the good work John, we need more people like you spreading the word about how dangerous this mercury is in our environment. :)
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    "I don't think that everyone exposed to mercury will develop symptoms of mercury poisoning or MND, however there are definitely people who are predisposed to having more problems than others. "

    People vary in the rate of excretion of various metals. I have a vague recollection that there are some compounds that can help remove mercury and heavy metals. Garlic? Alpha Lipoic Acid?

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Yes John, Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelation_therapy says that "Chelation therapy is the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body. For the most common forms of heavy metal intoxication—those involving lead, arsenic or mercury—the standard of care in the United States dictates the use of dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA).[citation needed] Other chelating agents, such as 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA), are used in conventional and alternative medicine. No approved medical research has found any benefits to chelation therapy for other diseases or ailments." Bentonite clay has also apparently been claimed to have been used effectively to remove mercury, see http://www.massagebyben.com/articles/articledetail.php?artid=15680&catid...
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Like all mercury-containing fluorescent lights, CFLs should be properly stored, transported and recycled to prevent these fragile bulbs from breaking and emitting hazardous mercury vapor. They cannot be thrown away in the trash, but should be taken to a recycling center or disposed of by using a proven recycling box. As CFLs and fluorescent bulbs are steadily replacing incandescents, it is important for consumers to understand the importance of properly recycling them. A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota tested the effectiveness of various packages in containing mercury vapor emitted from broken fluorescent lamps. The study found that many packages do not sufficiently contain mercury vapor, such as single-layer cardboard boxes (representing the original manufacturer’s box or container) as well as single layer boxes with a sealed plastic bag. Just one configuration—consisting of a zip-closure plastic-foil laminate bag layered between two cardboard boxes—minimized exposure levels below acceptable occupational limits, as defined by state and federal regulations and guidelines. Find out more about this proven packaging method at vaporlok.blogspot.com/2010/05/layers-of-protection-packaging-used.html

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Yes Brad, but unfortunately many people are not aware of the hazards of not handling these CFL 'green' bulbs properly. At my local supermarket CFLs are hanging on hooks at the checkout, next to lollies, batteries and magazines. They are even thrown into the reduced bin along with any other reduced stock for people to rummage around in to find bargains.

    When these bulbs break at the supermarket, the staff, who are often local teenagers and schoolkids doing part-time jobs, have no idea how dangerous they are. Noone is evacuating the supermarket or carefully cleaning up the debris wearing a mask and rubber gloves and depositing it in a sealed glass container or anything else. They are just throwing it into the bin even though the debris contains extremely hazardous mercury dust and vapour which will contaminate the store long term. The general public are not aware of these hazards surrounding the use of CFls and its not surprising because no one has warned them, not even the packaging that the CFLs come in!
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    .
    Thanks for helping to get it known that cfls have the HIGHEST Carbon footprint of any of the alternatives. (Start with weight and follow complexity.)
    The bottom line is that people FEEL bad when their spaces are lit with fluorescents, and often they do not recognize why, or what is the cause. (the Psychophysics factors).
    (recommend
    Compact Fluorescents Shine Light on Health Issues
    by Kathleen Hemenway, PhD).
    Then there is the NOTgreen factor, the Toxicity factor, and the global Economics factor. (Dozens of lightbulb factories, affecting whole towns, closed down as cfl mfr is located to Asia).
    . Alt.
    .

    Another factor is the lifetime of CFLs measured in switchings. I have stable-style fixtures in my bathroom and toilet, which are horrible for changing bulbs, especially when you have to change a bulb in the bathroom in early morning, on naked feet. So I bought CFLs, which were supposed to have a much longer lifetime, so less changing. After a few months it appeared, that the lifetime of a CFL is heavily restricted by the times you switch it on/off. And the toilet/bathroom light is usually the one that is most frequently switched on/off in the house. So after a few months the toilet CFL was finished. That was an expensive replacement in just a few months. Classic bulbs are much cheaper and last for years. So what I do now is leave the toilet/bathroom light on for 24 hours. I know I'm not saving electricity, or the planet, this way, but I don't feel like paying a lot of money and having to replace the horrible bathroom light every two months. Plus every time I change the CFL I have the horrible toxic waste problem.
    Well, maybe I'm saving the planet this way, or at least the chinese factory workers, who get so easily burdened by the consequences of western environmental zealotry.

    Helen - this is selective information with little scientific research to support your flawed reasoning.
    Current CFLs have 1.5 mg of mercury, this would fit on the head of a pin. This amount is the same as several bites of tuna (see UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley Lab for this report).
    Chinese factories produce a wide range of toxins in manufacturing many products in addition to CFLs. Chinese workers deal with toxins, and stress daily.
    The Chinese also receive spent electronics for recycling. Some amount of these electronics are burned to recover platinum, gold, and silver. Burning releases copious amounts of toxins into the air that Chinese laborers breathe. The effects of manufacturing on workers is multi-faceted and pervasive, selecting one thread out of thousands is of little use in understanding daily reality for Chinese workers.
    The light source with the highest overall (manufacture, power generation, and disposal) toxicity is the incandescent lamp (Navigant Consulting).
    The chemical load on all of us is too high. Chemicals come from thousands of sources. Chemicals are present in manufactured goods, water, and air. I agree that reducing chemical exposure is desirable but making informed choices requires accurate information, not half-truths and scary stories.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Did you read this article by Michael Sheridan that appeared in the Australian and the Times? I should have quoted a lot more from his article in this blog in particular the following :-
    Making the bulbs requires workers to handle mercury in either solid or liquid form because a small amount of the metal is put into each bulb to start the chemicalreaction that creates light. Documents issued by the Chinese health ministry, instructions to doctors and occupational health propaganda all describe mercury poisoning in lighting factories as a growing public health concern. 
    In southern China, compact fluorescent lightbulbs destined for western consumers are being made in factories that range from high-tech multina-tional operations to sweat-shops,with widely varying standards of health and safety.Tests on hundreds of employees have found dangerously high levels of mercury in their bodies and many have required hospital treatment, according to interviews with workers, doctors and local health officials in the cities of Foshan and Guangzhou. 
    Dozens of workers who were interviewed on condition of anonymity described living with the fear of mercury poisoning. They gave detailed accounts of medical tests that found numerous workers had dangerous levels of the toxin in their urine. 
    A survey of published specialist literature and reports by state media shows hundreds of workers at Chinese-owned factories have been poisoned by mercury over the past decade. 
    In one case, Foshan city officials intervened to order medical tests on workers at the Nanhai Feiyang lighting factory after receiving a petition alleging dangerous conditions, according to a report in the Nanfang Daily newspaper. The tests found 68 out of 72 workers were so badly poisoned they required hospitalisation. 
    A specialist medical journal, published by the health ministry, describes another compact fluorescent lightbulb factory in Jinzhou, in central China,where 121 out of 123 employees had excessive mercury levels. One man’s level was 150 times the accepted standard. The same journal identified a compact fluorescent light bulb factory in Anyang, eastern China, where 35% of workers suffered mercury poisoning, and industrial discharge containing the toxin went straight into the water supply


    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Helen
    We are surrounded by toxins everyday. The largest amount of mercury is airborne and comes from coal fired power plants. This mercury contaminates soil, air, water, and the oceans. Reducing energy use is essential to reducing the mercury (and other toxins) produced by coal-fired power plants.
    Higher levels, substantially higher levels, of mercury and other toxins are used in the manufacture of electronics, some amount of these toxins enter the environment because of lax environmental regulations. Mercury and lead is in cosmetics. Mercury is in high-level fish as mentioned before so no tuna, halibut, swordfish particularly for children.
    CFLs and linear fluorescents are a small part of the mercury contamination that is occurring in the world at this time. CFLs are a transition step from incandescents because they use 75% less energy and last 7,000 to 10,000 hours. CFLs have miniscule amounts of free mercury remaining at their end of life; the small amounts of mercury that remain are largely absorbed into the phosphor coating (Lawrence Berkeley Lab research data).
    The next step in energy savings is LEDs. Lots of toxins are used in their manufacture. Potential energy savings are greater than 80% when compared to incandescents.
    Paul Packard, Systems Architect for CREE has said,"LEDs have the potential to save $ US 30 billion a year in energy by 2030 and eliminate the need for up to 1,000 megawatt power plants."
    I suggest a more holistic and global approach to toxins with an effort to understand which toxins are the greatest threat to health and which sources of these toxins produces the largest amounts. Mercury is deadly even in small amounts but CFLs are not the greatest source of mercury

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Arthur, this blog is primarily concerned about the deleterious effects of mercury poisoning on the Chinese factory workers over the last decade, my secondary concern was the fact that most people being forced to use the CFL light bulbs are not even aware that they are highly toxic when broken, (especially to the very young, old and pregnant) and that they need to be cleaned up with sticky tape and not vacuumed up for example. I wrote it some time ago and was mainly just quoting the article in the Times and the Australian newspapers. I'm not sure what the current situation is in China now and I intend to investigate it shortly, when I have more time, so thank you for making these comments and prompting me back into action. You say that :-
    "We are surrounded by toxins everyday. The largest amount of mercury is airborne and comes from coal fired power plants. This mercury contaminates soil, air, water, and the oceans. Reducing energy use is essential to reducing the mercury (and other toxins) produced by coal-fired power plants".
    But even back in 2007 this article in naturalnews.com claimed that :-
    According to www.lightbulbrecycling.com, each year an estimated 600 million fluorescent lamps are disposed of in U.S. landfills, amounting to 30,000 pounds of mercury waste. Astonishingly, that's almost half the amount of mercury emitted into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants each year. It only takes 4mg of mercury to contaminate up to 7,000 gallons of freshwater, meaning that the 30,000 pounds of mercury thrown away in compact fluorescent light bulbs each year is enough to pollute nearly every lake, pond, river and stream in North America (not to mention the oceans).
    Measuring the environmental impact of mercury use in a particular product is very complicated and I'm not sure how correct these claimed figures are. Again, I need to do more research to try to find and compare the current global figures of mercury pollution from CFLs to the mercury pollution from power stations.  Mercury is an essential element in millions of fluorescent lamps throughout the world, and as those lamps are thrown into landfill, the mercury can escape and contribute to air and water pollution and can easily leach into groundwater supplies, but how do you measure this impact globally?
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Helen - Older US fluorescents had large amounts of mercury, so much that you could see mercury rolling around when the tube was tilted. Mercury standard vary worldwide and many emerging industrial countries are lax with worker safety and the use and disposal of toxins.
    CFL cleanup claims and exaggerated scary stories help no one. The reality is a broken CFL poses little hazard to people, open the windows and allow the room to vent. Finding mercury to pick up with sticky tape will be near impossible because the amount is so small.
    The mercury in a CFL is injected with a device and workers are supposed to be wearing haz mat suits or work with gloves using a sealed chamber for the process. The other possible hazard is the glass used in a CFL. This glass is blown into a mold and then a phosphor coating is applied to the interior. Phosphors are in powder form and workers should be shielded from this powder.
    The complexity of the chemicals used in our modern lives is difficult to determine. Many chemicals have not had adequate testing. often, long-term impactsare unknown. Many schools and organizations are working on creating a list of chemicals used in manufacturing and what precautions should be taken for worker safety. We also do not have good data on chemicals working in combination and what impacts these may have.
    You might look up Greepeace, EWG, and NRDC for further information. Arthur

    .
    I read this article on Apple dropping from EPEAT standards
    (http://ifixit.org/2884/apple-ditches-green-standard-cuts-off-federal-age...)
    and comment:
    •I really was happy to read this (article2884) as according to the EPEAT & Exec. Ord. 13423:

    NO Federal Agency is allowed to buy Compact Fluorescent Lights. I FEEL better already.
    •Due to the computer circuit boards in their base; due to the toxins in their base and “bulb”; due to the lifecycle of their Carbon footprint, packaging, need to be shipped to a place of de-manufacture in order to then recycle, and of course their initial shipping weight from Asia (more carbon); and not least their “performance category” of making people feel stressed when lit by fluorescent flicker – they now (since 2007) cannot be purchased for Federal use.
    • Yayyy!
    • Please be sure to let your purchasing agents know, if they are in use in your building.

    ...*: Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool,
    and 2007-01-24 (Bush) Executive Order 13423.
    -Alt
    .