Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Henry Aubin, "Mini-fluorescent light bulbs and mercury vapor," Montreal Gazette, July 14, 2009.

I used to think I was making a better world for my grandchildren by using compact fluorescent bulbs. Now I'm not so sure.

It's not that I doubt the claim that they use a quarter as much energy as regular incandescent light bulbs and last many times longer. Nor is it that I don't applaud their utility in fighting climate change: The Washington-based Worldwatch Institute says that if everyone in the U.S. alone were to replace traditional bulbs with the corkscrew fluorescent sort it would reduce greenhouse gas as much as taking 30 million cars off the road.

  "Do not use a vacuum to clean up the initial breakage, as it will spread the mercury vapour and dust throughout the area and may contaminate the vacuum."

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