Thank you for the opportunity to leave feedback. I found your light bulb snowman project to be very cute however, you may be unaware of the exteme danger they may pose. I have cut and past just a few words on the subject however just type in light bulb dangers and you will be aware of the potential hazards.
Mercury – a potent, developmental neurotoxin that can damage the brain, liver, kidneys and central nervous system. Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to mercury’s toxic effects. Even at low levels, mercury is capable of causing a number of health problems including impair motor functioning, cognitive ability and emotional problems. Higher or prolonged exposure can result in much more serious health problems.
CFLs are marketed as “safe” and don’t pose any health risks as long as the glass remains intact. The danger comes if the bulbs are cracked, broken or not disposed of properly. Although it sounds like a miniscule amount – 4 to 5 milligrams – there is enough mercury in just one fluorescent light bulb to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water.
So what does that mean if a CFL is cracked or breaks in our homes, releasing mercury vapors in an enclosed area?
Consumers – especially those with young children –need to know what to do when a CFL breaks and the proper way to dispose of used bulbs. It’s no longer as easy as changing a light bulb.
Compact fluorescent light-bulbs contain very small amounts of mercury and care must be taken in disposing of them or when they break.
The EPA suggests the following:
o People and pets should immediately leave the room.
o Open a window and/or door and Air out the room for 5 to 10 minutes.
o Turn off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system.
o Thoroughly collect broken glass and visible powder using wet cloths. Never use vacuum cleaners or brooms.
o Put all debris and cleanup materials in a sealable container and put outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly. Do not leaving bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
Also check out these frequently asked questions about CFLs below
Frequently Asked Questions Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury November 2010
All of this needs to be done to protect people from the tiny amount of mercury in one fluorescent light bulb. Which begs the question, are these lights really safe and are the risks worth it?
Another equally important concern is what happens to the environment – the air, soil and water – when tons of discarded bulbs, along with the mercury, are dumped into local landfills?
The threat posed by billions of broken CFLs lying in landfills has resulted in some communities requiring their citizens to discard used and broken CFLs in designated recycling centers or in a hazardous-waste collection facility.
Given the known deleterious effects caused by mercury, it would seem logical to assume there will be some unintended consequences resulting from the switch to compact fluorescent lights.
Only time will tell how significant those consequences will be.
If you are concerned about the possible health risks associated with CFLs, LED or halogen lights are good alternatives. Both cost a little more but are as efficient as CFLs and can be recycled easily.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps are designed to fit standard light sockets as an energy-saving alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs. CFLs have spiraling or elongated U-shaped tubes known as a single-envelope unit; the double-envelope or encapsulated bulbs have the tubes inside a glass bulb. Consumers should be aware of dangers associated with CFL bulbs before bringing the units into the home, school or workplace.
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