Recently released results of tests conducted by the State of Maine suggest that under certain conditions mercury vapor released from a broken compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) can pose a health risk. A new report prepared for the Mercury Policy Project and co-released by Sierra Club California concludes that, while sensitive populations should take extra precautions to reduce risks associated with breakage, CFLs can and should still be used in everyone’s homes until a nontoxic light bulb becomes available.
People should feel perfectly comfortable buying and using compact fluorescent lamps in their homes. CFLs play an important role in increasing efficiency, cutting home energy costs and curbing global warming. Just as with many other household products, consumers should take some precautions if a bulb happens to break or when it's time to recycle one.
For specific recommendations, see my article in California Progress Report.
By Bill Magavern
Sierra Club California