Monday, February 26, 2007

Liberals should propose banning incandescent light bulbs





The Liberals should follow Australia's lead and propose banning incandescent light bulbs. That is, Dion and crew should propose rewriting the Canadian Energy Efficiency Act, such that standards would be too stringent for incandescent bulbs to meet.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury. The standard fluorescent lamp
contains approximately 20 milligrams of mercury. While there are no known
health hazards from exposure to lamps that are intact, improper disposal of
fluorescent lamps can contaminate the environment. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that over 800 million lamps are produced
each year to replace 800 million lamps that are then disposed. Since 1 gram
of mercury is enough to contaminate a 2-acre pond, there is enough mercury
in those lamps to contaminate 20 million acres of water.

Mercury is toxic to the human nervous system. Chronic breathing of mercury
vapors can cause a range of physical symptoms, including inability to
coordinate body movement and impairment of hearing, speech and vision.
Exposure to mercury in other forms can lead to skin rashes and kidney
damage.

Elemental mercury that is released to the environment can be deposited into
lakes, rivers, and the oceans where a biological process takes place in
which the mercury is converted into methylmercury, a highly toxic organic
form of mercury. The methylmercury is then consumed by various animals in
the food chain where it bioaccumulates, concentrating to higher and higher
levels in larger animals. Consumption of larger mammals could cause elevated
levels of methylmercury in humans, resulting in neurological damage to
unborn children. According to estimates by the National Wildlife Federation,
85,000 U.S. women of childbearing age in a given year are exposed to
elevated methylmercury levels sufficient to affect the brain development of
their babies.

Even though mercury in fluorescent lamps is a problem, the solution is not
to stop using energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. The largest man-made
source of mercury in the atmosphere is fossil fuel combustion (58% of
total). When the mercury in a fossil fuel is heated in a combustor, it turns
into a vapor and escapes into the atmosphere. When moisture vapor in the
atmosphere turns to rain, mercury returns to the earth and is deposited in
streams, lakes, and other waterways. On average, fossil-fueled power plants
emit 0.04 milligrams of mercury per kilowatt-hour sold. So the
energy-savings reduces more mercury in the environment than is added by the
potential disposal problem of the bulb. When fluorescent bulbs are properly
recycled, there is a major reduction in environmental mercury from the
energy savings, with little or no added mercury from the bulb.

Eric James said...

What about the thousands of Canadians who can not stand the buzzing of fluorescent bulbs? Who get headaches with the light color of the bulbs and prefer to dim lights in their home rather then run them at full brightness?

It is a good idea on paper but it will never work.

What we need are more rebates and incentives to convert homes to more energy efficient forms.

Koby said...

Well said anonymous.

"What about the thousands of Canadians who can not stand the buzzing of fluorescent bulbs?"

Come again. It is not that noticeable and as a reason for not going forward this one sucks.

"Who get headaches with the light color of the bulbs and prefer to dim lights in their home rather then run them at full brightness?"

Where to begin. You can get dimable fluorescent light bulbs. Headaches: Do you have a source?