Tag Archives: cfl

Health, green groups push for mercury warnings on CFL labels | Inquirer News

In a common letter sent to the Departments of Trade and Industry, Energy, and Environment and Natural Resources, EcoWaste Coalition and 17 other groups said these products must have “contains mercury” disclosures on their labels.“Consumers have the right to know that fluorescent lamps and other kinds of lamps contain mercury and should be handled with extreme caution, from the point of purchase to disposal, to avoid breakage and release of mercury vapor,” said Thony Dizon, coordinator of EcoWaste’s “Project Protect.”

Broken or crushed lamps may expose consumers and workers, including waste handlers and informal recyclers, to mercury, a potent neurotoxin that can negatively affect brain development in unborn and growing children, Dizon said.

Busted or spent mercury-added lamps are considered hazardous waste under Republic Act 6969, the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act and classified as “special waste” under RA 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

Based on a recent market monitoring conducted by EcoWaste, all 12 brands of CFLs that it bought from major supermarkets and hardware stores contain no mercury warning labels, and none provided information about the amount of mercury each product contains, the group said.

The 12 CFL products were Akari, Amarflex, Delta, Firefly, GE, Luxen, Omni, Osram, Panasonic, Philips, Sylvania and Toshiba.

The products may be deemed “mislabeled” under Article 91 of RA 7394 for “failing to provide mercury warning information and other pertinent facts,” the group said.

Under that law, a product containing hazardous substances is deemed mislabeled if it fails to state conspicuously the common name of the chemical contributing to its harmfulness and the signal word “warning” or “caution.”

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/446181/health-green-groups-push-for-mercury-warnings-on-cfl-labels#ixzz2ZEEPLWVa

via Health, green groups push for mercury warnings on CFL labels | Inquirer News.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs: Consumers complain some CFLs burn out fast

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, were supposed to save us money. But a growing number of people are complaining that those energy savings are offset by the high cost of the bulbs, and the reality that they can fail long before they are supposed to. Bought Into the Hype Gene Zgoda, like many of us, bought into the CFL hype a few years ago.He installed the energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs in his kitchen ceiling light and bathroom vanity light.The bulbs, he had heard over and over again, save energy and last many years.Except they didnt.

Gene says he couldnt believe it: Some of his new expensive bulbs were burning out after less that 2 years.”They say they are going to last longer than old bulbs, and pay for themselves. They are pretty expensive. I think I paid $13 for some of them,” a frustrated Zgoda said.

Dirty Little Secret. Its the dirty little secret of CFLs, that cost between a dollar and $9 each these days.They can last up to 15,000 hours, 10 times the lifespan of a standard incandescent bulb. But manufacturers admit the bulbs life is much shorter, if it is turned on and off constantly, as in a kitchen.”If we left this on all the time,” Zgoda said, “it would be great, theyd last a long time. And then wed waste more electricity! So wheres the gain here?”The US Department of Energy now suggests not using CFLs if they are not going to be on at least 15 minutes, as in the bathroom.

Read more via Compact fluorescent light bulbs: Consumers complain some CFLs burn out fast.

CFL Cancer Scare Debunked » Electric Co-op Today

If the story appeared in a supermarket tabloid you’d probably chuckle, shake your head, and then pay for your groceries. But when stories about compact fluorescent bulbs posing health risks turn up in Scientific American, you have to take notice.

Not to worry, says NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network. But electric cooperatives will want to be aware of what’s going on, because some members are asking questions.

“About a year and a half ago, there were some reports in the European media that CFLs cause cancer and there was a university study. It was picked up by a lot of reputable media outlets in Europe and the United States,” said Brian Sloboda, CRN senior program manager.

“And then one day, a reporter called the university to interview the researcher. And the researcher said he had no clue because he’d never done any work like that. It was a total fabrication,” Sloboda explained.

Fast forward to July of this year, when Scientific American and others picked up on research conducted at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Sloboda said some co-ops received calls from members asking about this story, which suggested the university found some correlation between skin cells in a Petri dish and ultraviolet radiation emitted by some CFLs.

“The details are different,” said Sloboda, who took a closer look. “The simple answer is that there is, for most people, not too much to be concerned with.”

For starters, some of the cells used in the SUNY study are not normally exposed to sunlight. So it’s worth looking at research by others, including the Food and Drug Administration.

That found that while CFLs do produce UV light, it is a small amount “equivalent to just being outside in the sunlight for a minute or two,” Sloboda said. “So it doesn’t cause direct damage.”

The only eyebrow-raising finding by the FDA concerns people with pre-existing conditions, such as lupus, that cause the skin to be hyper-sensitive to UV light. And in those situations it’s only people who are “using the CFL very, very close to your skin for an extended period of time,” Sloboda said. “Most people are not doing that.” FDA recommends keeping the CFL at least a foot from your skin.

Co-ops can advise members to talk to their physician, and if they’re still worried, to buy LEDs which don’t emit UV light.

But Sloboda said the bottom line is: “You’re far more at risk for skin cancer by going outside and never using sunscreen for several years. That’s what puts you at risk—not having a CFL in a table lamp.”

By Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer via CFL Cancer Scare Debunked » Electric Co-op Today.

City to get pilot project on safe disposal of mercury in CFLs – Indian Express

City to get pilot project on safe disposal of mercury in CFLs

Hazardous metal waste can affect brain and nervous system if not disposed of properly

The city is likely to be chosen for a project on disposal of “fused” compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs that contain mercury – a hazardous metal that can affect the brain and nervous system if not disposed of properly.

A report submitted jointly by TERI and the Electric Lamp and Components Manufacturers’ Association of India (ELCOMA), which represents the CFL manufacturers, proposes that Delhi and Bangalore should be the two sites for the pilot project.

Disposal of CFLs has been a controversial issue because prolonged exposure to the toxic metal, mercury, can lead to serious health problems. Safe disposal has proved tricky because of problems at all three stages – extraction of mercury from the bulbs, transportation of the metal and recycling.

The report submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in December last year, recommends a six-month project.

Spent CFL bulbs will be collected from households and put in carbon-coated drums. These will be then crushed under a mercury-absorbing filter to restrict vapours from getting into the air. This will make transportation easier.

These drums will be taken to a recycling site where the mercury will be extracted from the crushed glass and converted into sulphide.

H S Mamak, adviser for ELCOMA, said: “We have submitted our proposal. We are awaiting a formal go-ahead.”

A Delhi government official confirmed that the ministry could soon sanction the project.

The country doesn’t have a law on CFL disposal, though the Environment Ministry and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have been brainstorming to frame a draft legislation since 2007.

via City to get pilot project on safe disposal of mercury in CFLs – Indian Express.

Study: Exposure to CFL bulbs harms healthy skin cells | The Daily Caller


New research funded by the National Science Foundation has scientists warning consumers about the potentially harmful effects energy-saving CFL light bulbs can have on skin.

The warning comes based on a study conducted by Stony Brook University and New York State Stem Cell Science — published in the June issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology — which looked at whether and how the invisible UV rays CFL bulbs emit affect the skin.

Based on the research, scientists concluded that CFL light bulbs can be harmful to healthy skin cells.“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, in a statement. “Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure.”

According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 a chemical found in sunblock, incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin.

The scientists found that cracks in the CFL bulbs phosphor coatings yielded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs — purchased in different locations across two counties — they examined.

With high levels of ultraviolet radiation present, the researchers delved into how the exposure affected the skin. According to the findings, skin damage from exposure to CFLs was consistent with harm caused by ultraviolet radiation.

“Despite their large energy savings, consumers should be careful when using compact fluorescent light bulbs,” said Rafailovich. “Our research shows that it is best to avoid using them at close distances and that they are safest when placed behind an additional glass cover.”

The research was inspired by a similar 2008 European study conducted by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks which found a potential for skin damage and suggested the use of double-enveloped bulbs as a mitigation tool.

CFLs have been the source of political rumblings since 2007 when Congress approved new energy standards that would have started to phase out the traditional incandescent light bulb in favor of the energy-efficient CFL bulb this year. In December, Congress offered a provision to prevent the Department of Energy from enforcing the standards for nine months. The regulation is still on the books.

The restriction on consumer choice has represented a political battle cry for Tea Partiers and conservatives alike who view the regulation as an infringement on individual liberty. Environmentalists and CFL proponents argue the bulbs are environmentally friendly and economically efficient.


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/23/energy-efficient-cfl-bulbs-cause-skin-damage-say-researchers/#ixzz21S6f76A9

via Study: Exposure to CFL bulbs harms healthy skin cells | The Daily Caller.

New federal label for household light bulbs packages could help consumers warm up to CFL, LED bulbs | cleveland.com

It used to be that picking up a two-pack or four-pack of light bulbs was a no-brainer.

As if by instinct, most consumers knew what wattage bulb to buy. A 40-watt bulb might go in a closet, a 75-watt could be used in a reading lamp, and a bright 100-watt might go above a workbench. But most often, consumers bought a 60-watt bulb — pretty bright but not blinding, and not so hot that it ruined the fixture.

Much of that buying decision, though, was based on experience and marketing, including information on the package. It was all about how much power a bulb used.

“We have been conditioned to buy on watts,” said Peter Soares, director of consumer marketing for Philips Lighting.Not for long. Because of new technologies, the industry wants consumers to choose light bulbs by lumens, which measure brightness, not by watts. This will be done with fancy new packaging and a sober, federally mandated label.

Read More via New federal label for household light bulbs packages could help consumers warm up to CFL, LED bulbs | cleveland.com.

Canada Delays Phase Out of Incandescent Light Bulbs for 2 Years | AltEnergyMag Press Release

All developed markets worldwide are committed to implementing energy efficiency standards for light bulbs, and this includes the US, the EU, Australia and Canada. The energy efficiency standard for light bulbs was introduced in 2007 with the stated aim of improving incandescent bulbs or replacing them with more efficient technologies, notably with compact fluorescent and LED bulbs. The underlying aim of energy saving is to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by the enforcement of low energy requirements.

Numerous concerns have been voiced with regard to energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), mainly due to their potential risks to health, their actual performance and issues involved in their disposal due to their mercury content. Research conducted by the Canadian government indicated that CFLs pose no health risks from ultraviolet radiation or electromagnetic emission, but noted that more time is needed to communicate these facts to consumers effectively.

Reasons given for delaying the implementation in Canada by two years are that the amendment to the regulations will provide more time to communicate research findings to the public as well as more time to install CFL disposal programs. The main messages to the Canadian public are that no one technology will have to be used, alternatives will become available and the use of CFLs poses no health risks.

However, the delay will put Canada one or two years behind the US schedule for incandescent bulb phase-out as well as pushing any projected energy and cost savings further into the future.

via Canada Delays Phase Out of Incandescent Light Bulbs for 2 Years | AltEnergyMag Press Release.

Full Circle, Part 4: NLR – The Green Apple

For whatever reason, the light bulb will not go off in the collective conscience of most American businesses when it comes to complying with the Universal Waste Rule.

Even though the rule has been a part of a federal regulation of the Environment Protection Agency since 1990, Raymond Graczyk said that only about 30 percent of private businesses properly handle the removal of universal waste such as mercury-containing light bulbs, batteries and ballasts – even though the numerous toxic effects of mercury poisoning has been well documented for years and years. Those effects include damage to the brain, kidney and lungs.

“What happens with mercury is that it accumulates in the environment, so when you’re getting hundreds and hundreds and millions of lamps being thrown out a year that  mercury is released to the environment and then it finds its way back into the food chain, especially in fish,” said Graczyk, who is the co-founder and president of NLR, a company based north of Hartford, Conn., that specializes in lamp and universal recycling services for mainly commercial businesses. “[Awareness] is increasing some but it’s not as rapidly as it should be. It’s hard to say and necessarily come up with a reason why… Whether people aren’t properly informed. Whether they don’t care. I don’t know. Maybe they don’t realize how really available and easy it is to recycle.”

raczyk was working in the electric wholesale business before helping start NLR as a response to the EPA’s new regulations and the relative lack of a facility needed to process mercury-containing light bulbs in the Northeast. “There wasn’t any viable solution at that point in time,” he said.

NLR began with lamps — according to the company’s website it has recycled more than 300 million linear feet of lamp waste — and then quickly expanded to electronics and battery recycling and similar services. The company has more than a thousand customers in New York City alone, Graczyk said. He added that the company has clients all over the Northeast, stretching from Maine to Maryland.

“What we do at our company is keep a lot of mercury out of the environment,” said Graczyk, who also serves as the president of the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers, which has an “Education and Resources” page on its website.

Here’s how it works: A large blue and yellow machine (see above) crushes the lamps and removes calcium phosphate powder that contains the mercury from the glass. The metal and glass is then separated. The phosphate powder then is sent off for a process called retorting where the mercury is reclaimed through the powder. In the case of lamp recycling and all other similar processes, the raw materials, such as aluminum from a lamp or nickel from a battery, is smelted to later be made into a variety of products.

At the moment, the main involvement NLR at the residential level is only through partnerships that have been arranged with municipal transfer stations throughout the area. That could change, though, as more Americans begin using compact florescent lights in their homes with the federal ban of traditional 100-watt bulbs. Furthermore, manufacturers will stop producing 75-watt bulbs on Jan. 1, 2012, but will be allowed to make 60- and 40-watt bulbs until 2014.

“I’m sure as the use of compact fluorescents becomes more prevalent than we definitely will be more involved on the residential side,” Gracyzk said. “When you throw out florescent bulbs, they don’t even make it to the landfill. They’ll start releasing into the environment from the dumpster because they get broken right away.”

Does your company use services such as the ones provided by NLR? What are your thoughts on the spread of mercury into the environment in regards to light bulbs? We’d love to hear from you on the topic.

via Full Circle, Part 4: NLR – The Green Apple.

Global News-India: Glowing mercury, growing panic

Ashpreet Sethi, New Delhi, Jan 31,2012,DHNS:

Environmentalists say mercury in tube-lights and other fluorescent bulbs produced in India is exceeding the safe limit and there is no regulatory body to check the same.The mercury content in Compact Fluorescent Lamps CFLs has risen to six times more than the internationally recommended average content.Most of the CFLs are thrown into a water body and broken into pieces which releases the mercury in the air.

“This can lead to health hazards such as kidney failure and paralysis and harm the ecological balance as well. We need to push for standards as there is no regulated disposal mechanism for households and industries, which is polluting the air and surrounding water bodies. Moreover, India does not have a standardised labelling pattern,” said Rajeev Betne, senior programme co-ordinator with Toxics Link, Delhi.

Experts suggest that the government should act immediately as the growing CFL market has already replaced more than 80 per cent of the yellow bulbs or incandescent lamps (ICL) market in India.

Also, India imports almost 35 per cent of CFLs from China and Malaysia every year to meet the over growing domestic demand.

Research result

A study done by Toxic Links in September 2011, had highlighted that CFLs manufactured in India of about 22 miligram when the international standards suggest 1.5 miligram per bulb.

The study was conducted on a sample of 22 fluorescent bulbs from four different brands. A huge variation was observed in the content of mercury in the same range of bulbs within the same brand.

“This indicates that there is no control or limitation on the machine instilling mercury in these bulbs,” added Betne. 

Moreover, many of fluorescent bulbs do not last longer than one year because of high mercury levels.

Future threats

According to estimates, 400 million CFL units will be operational beginning 2012 which can cause more harm to the environment if the mercury content remains unregulated. However, experts are hopeful that a regulation will be soon in place.

“The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is in the process of finalising the standards for checking the mercury levels in CFLs. The standards will bring down the mercury level to 5 miligram per bulb,” said Sunil Pandey, an environmentalist with the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Delhi.

Brands such as Philips and GE should be preferred over locally produced CLFs till regulations are gazetted on paper as brands limit the mercury content to a great extent, he added.

via Glowing mercury, growing panic.

Legislator Aims to Foster Instrastate Manufacture, Sale of Incandescent Bulbs – Sun Gazette Newspapers: News

A state legislator is hoping to find a away around the federal government’s ban on manufacturing of incandescent light bulbs.

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) has introduced legislation that would permit the State Corporation Commission to oversee manufacturing and distribution of the light bulbs within Virginia’s borders.

Such an intrastate effort conceivably could skirt federal rules, adopted during the Bush administration, which mandate phasing out the manufacture of incandescent bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient lighting sources.

Marshall’s legislation anticipates that the federal government would challenge such a measure; it directs the state attorney general’s office to represent any manufacturer of incandescent bulbs in Virginia in any litigation brought by federal officials or anyone else using federal law as the basis for a suit.

via Legislator Aims to Foster Instrastate Manufacture, Sale of Incandescent Bulbs – Sun Gazette Newspapers: News.