What ever you do, don’t break the light

Mary Glassford's take on the fluorescent light.

No doubt you are aware that the Canadian Government has passed legislation to ban incandescent lights by 2012.

As of 2011 BC has brought in a partial ban on 75 & 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, retailers are no longer allowed to re-order them.

A few years ago before I retired I became aware of the issue of coil fluorescent lights containing mercury, therefore they are not to be disposed of in our landfills. So of course I asked the question where do we take them and no one really had an answer – imagine.

Recently I did some checking the only one listed for Quesnel is Canadian Tire. You can check out www.lightrecycle.ca for locations.

Did you know there are health concerns associated with these coil fluorescent lights?

People have reported suffering symptoms of electro-hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS) when exposed to electromagnetic radiation.

Symptoms range from joint stiffness, chronic fatigue, headaches, sleep problems and depression.

I have talked with others that suffer from migraine headaches and they are worse when using CFL’s.

Other interesting information is that it requires 16 times the energy to produce a CFL compared to an incandescent – so where is the energy saving?

New Zealand has been changing their policies on incandescent lights due to safety and energy efficiency of the CFLs.

Germany has restricted the use of fluorescent lighting in public places and apparently banned fluorescent lights in hospitals.

Now we must also remember they are toxic they contain mercury.

When and if you break one you should:

Air the room for at least 15 minutes.

Wear gloves, sweep up the debris, do not vacuum, use duck tape to help lift the residue, double bag and seal, take to a recycling facility not the landfill.

The next time you vacuum the area in question – immediately remove the bag and throw away – I wonder where you take that?

Ridiculous or what? Imagine you have young children, go out for the evening, accidentally a coil light gets broken and they clean it up. Oh! Oh! Not a good idea unless of course they know how – right?

Social engineering at its best – passing a law that requires use of these coil light bulbs when there are health and environmental concerns.

Where is my choice?

When the coil fluorescent light first came on the market I purchased them – why wouldn’t I as I want to conserve energy just as everyone does.

I will continue to use incandescent lights – at least if I break one I can safely throw it in a landfill; it’s not toxic!

As a matter of fact my coil lights are in a box; I removed them some time ago. It’s all about conserving energy so remembering to turn off lights is a good way to improve our carbon footprint not legislation.

Mary Glassford is a long-term Quesnel resident, former Cariboo Regional District director and city councilor and president of the Post Secondary Education Council.

Quesnel Cariboo Observer

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