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More on the Mercury Debate

17 December 2008

In the past couple of days I’ve gotten a few comments on this post on mercury in CFLs that I thought warranted some discussion.  Of all the issues I talk about in my job as a community organizer around energy efficiency and conservation, there is none as contentious as that of mercury in compact fluorescent light bulbs. I get less discussion bringing up climate change!  So I think it’s important to address all sides of the issue so you know that I’m listening.  After all, I don’t get paid to sell light bulbs – it is our belief that energy efficiency and conservation provide a huge opportunity for all of us to reduce our carbon footprints, save money and become more comfortable in our homes, thus stimulating the local economy, slowing global warming and making our state more healthy, green and clean.  Compact fluorescent light bulbs are not the answer – they are a bridging technology that help us move away from incredible wasteful incandescents (over 90% of energy wasted as heat) and towards LEDs (light emitting diodes), which do not contain mercury but still have some kinks to be worked out.  I’ll try and respond to as many questions and comments that people make so you can get the whole story.

In the end, however, remember – if you don’t like compact fluorescent light bulbs, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY THEM! There are a lot of other actions you can do to help reduce energy use in your home, which you can explore in more depth at the Minnesota Energy Challenge.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 December 2008 3:41 pm

    There are no windows on the 26th floor of the Empire State building. Even if you don’t have to buy the light bulbs, others will and you will come into its path. I have had mercury poisoning for the past 13 years from a broken mercury thermometer. For the first 2 years it was like living a near mental vegetative state. It’s like a living mental hell that goes on for years, in my case 13 years and I still have it. Your argument is going to be a mercury thermometer contains 500 mg and 1 CFL contains 5mg.

    1 lightbulb does not light a house or an office building. And what about natural disasters, like Katrina, or the fires and mudslides in California. Entire neighborhoods where theoretically thousands of lightbulbs will break. Do you know anything about mercury poisoning symptoms? Learn something here:


  1. Mercury Found in Corn Syrup « Challenge for Change
  2. CFLs vs. LEDs: It’s Getting Heated « Challenge for Change

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