23 February 2012

Toxic Mercury in Energy Saving Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs

We all know the benefits of the compact fluorescent light bulb.  They save energy, and last longer.  These bulbs have become the standard as people replace their bulbs all around the USA, and appear in many commercials for saving energy and the environment.

The other night I was remarking to my husband how it is all well and good that these bulbs are good for the environment, but the builder of the home we are currently residing in definitely picked the wrong type of compact florescent bulb for our living room.  The bulbs are so bright and harsh that we almost never turn the overhead lighting fixture on.  Now of course this is not the fault of the compact fluorescent light bulb because you can chose a bulb with a softer lighting effect.

When I mentioned that I thought we should get up on the ladder and replace the bulbs someday my husband told me something that I was not aware of - there is toxic mercury in these energy saving light bulbs.  He asked me to be careful if I ever broke a bulb which peaked my interest enough to look into the matter.

I first visited NPR where I read a general article about the mercury in compact fluorescent light bulbs.  I learned that mercury is a neurotoxin that is especially harmful in children and developing fetuses.  The problem with these bulbs is that they are often thrown in with regular trash and break before they reach landfills.  It is the breakage that releases the  which can seep into soils or cause exposure to the person cleaning up the breakage.

It is not easy to recycle these bulbs, and most people do not even realize the danger in throwing them in with their regular trash.  The moral of this story is to be cautious if you need to deal with a bulb breakage.  When you dispose of used or broken bulbs use this website to find a recycling center near you.  If you need to clean up a broken bulb make sure to follow the EPA directions found here.  This will ensure your safety and the safety of the environment as well.

* This post contains affiliate links, but I was not paid by the manufacturer to review this product - I just like it! I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255. 


  1. Good morning! Dropping by from Thirsty Thursday Hop. What a neat blog and thanks for the post above, I had no idea! Love your photography work to! Drop on by if you get the chance, thanks!


  2. I've always known you had to dispose of energy efficient bulbs carefully, but I never knew why. Kind of scary! Thanks for sharing this info!

  3. I heard about this.
    Stopping by from the Thursday Hops to say hello.
    Have a great day!

  4. Didn't know about this, from now on I'm really going to secure that these globes don't break!!

  5. I wasn't aware either until my husband mentioned it. Always good to be informed. I will stop by everyone's blog and say hello.

  6. I am very happy to read such a wonderful blog which gives the helpful information thanks for sharing this blog.Free Solar Panels