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A safer CFL. . .


Ok, let's face it, CFL's have mercury. There is no getting around it. Mercury is needed in order for the bulb to provide light. And mercury is dangerous! But not all CFLs are created equal. Some manufacturers are finding ways to use less and less mercury in each bulb. At the same time other manufacturers have implemented a newer technology where the mercury is contained in a pellet of amalgam inside the bulb. (Which, by the way, if you have a mercury amalgam tooth filling you have 50 times the amount of mercury in your mouth than what is in a typical CFL.) When the mercury is contained in the amalgam the mercury vapor is released only when the amalgam reaches 100 degrees Celsius. Consequently, if you were to drop the bulb by mishandling it no mercury would be released if it were to break.

To me, the bottomline is that CFLs are a temporary solution to our lighting/energy issues. Not the best solution, but a start to getting people to think differently. For me, the real breakthrough is going to come in the next couple of years with L.E.D. lights (light emitting diode), where the bulb is dimmable, comes in a variety of colors and is completely recyclable. Can't wait!

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