One of the Brickmuppets Crack Team of Science Babes is surprised to learn that the compact flourescent bulbs being so enthusiastically pushed by the greens contain a bit of mercury....here is what happened to one family when they broke one.
2000 dollars in cleanup and a room sealed off.
I worked in hazmat cleanup for 10 years mercury is not something you mess around with.
Far, far more than global warming, mercury poisoning concerns us here at Brickmuppet Blog. Nursing Mothers, and pregnant women are already warned about mercury poisoning in fish.
The pollution of the oceans by mercury is one of the most terrible issues facing humanity. Mercury causes NERVE DAMAGE, in children it reduces IQ.
One of the worst cases, admittedly involving far higher concentrations than most current fish, was the dreadful Minamata disaster (about which more here and here) .
The main sources for marine mercury are burning lignite and bitumous coal and industrial runoff, though in some areas there is a natural source. Now one of the biggest coal burners besides the US (which uses a high percentage of relatively clean anthracite coal) is China....which you will remember, got a pass via the Kyoto treaty, which the US is pilloried for not signing.
In fact regards CO2 emissions alone, one of Chinas coal fires puts more CO2 than all the USA's automobiles combined! Lord knows how much mercury they are releasing.
Like Kyoto, these much ballyhooed bulbs seem to be more about feeling good than doing something productive. Yes they dramatically reduce energy consumption, but if a broken bulb will produce at best 2000 dollars of cleanup, and at worst expose your child to mercury the cost benefit analysis is whacked.
It was explained in this post. (which has had all of its pictures vanish) why we are less concerned (though NOT unconcerned) about global warming. These bulbs don't seem to be ready for prime time, yet they are being pushed as the "safe green alternative". If this article is correct, then they are neither safe nor green.
Note, mercury is present in minute amounts in regular fluorescent bulbs...it is chemically bonded and in a form that is relatively safe, but even these are required to be disposed of as hazmats.
Science Babe is, of course, Emma Skye from the Phoenix Wright Game.