Monday, April 30, 2007

Breaking CFLs

Compact Flourescent Lamps or CTLs have been hailed as a wonderful new way to save energy and they are. Even though they do contain some significant pollutents they have less than power plants would create to make up for the energy saved. CTLs are a no brainer, right?

Better think some more. A friend IM'd me today to discuss an interesting conundrum. He has a young child who, in a fit of pique, kicked a CTL in his bedroom lamp and broke it. The roughly 4 mg of powered mercury are now embedded in the carpet, the bedding, the curtains, the boy...

It is legal in the US to dispose of CTLs in regular trash. Naturally, this results in a lot of mercury contamination landfills. Consumer guidance has focused on this issue; how and where to dispose of them properly. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any guidance on avoiding them in the bedrooms and play areas frequented by young and rambuctious children.