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There is a lot of controversy regarding compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). On the one hand, we hear how these bulbs use 60% to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, have a longer life by 6 to 15 times, and can save 2,000 times its own weight in greenhouse gases. On the other hand, there are complaints about the bulbs flickering, the unsafe problem of what to do if they break because of mercury, the lack of a recycling program since they should not be thrown into your trash, and the much higher cost. Just to highlight the controversy, I did a search of forums to see what the people were saying. I really don't trust corporations. If you want to know the truth about products, listen to the people. There is so much division on CFLs that it is really hard to say if they are really good or bad for the environment.
"Nobody really talks about how awful the light is from a CFL! Iíve tried numerous types and they all make your home look like a ugly waiting room! The quality of light is horrible. We all spend so much time choosing colors to paint our walls, picking out the right color furniture, and then we bathe the room in ugly light and distort the color. Check out the color brown under a soft white CFL. It looks greenish grey!!!"
"We replaced our normal light bulbs for the CFL kind earlier this year thinking we'd be saving money and helping the environment. However, what I didn't know was that in high humidity areas they're lifespan shortens dramatically. We live in South Florida. Every single one of the bulbs died within a few months. That was a lot of wasted money there. Considering that these bulbs are probably more environmentally damaging to manufacture, and they don't last as long as promised, I hardly see how this helped the environment at all. And it was just a lot of money down the toilet personally. I think LED light technology looks much more promising. I'm going to stick to my regular old light bulbs till those are available."
3. "Hereís a short critique of the bogus argument that there will be a reduction in toxic mercury into the environment with CFLís due to the energy reduction from coal plants: (1) The EPA figures are incorrect for several reasons. The basic one is that they assume 100% of electricity in the US is from coal plants. Not true. 50% of electricity does not come from coal plants in the US and coal plants are now mandated to reduce their mercury emissions by between 70% and 90% in the next several years. (2) Places like California produce little energy from coal plants, so CFL energy reductions will not cut much mercury there. (3) The 5mg of mercury generally claimed for CFLís is largely a goal and not the current reality which can be 300% to 600% higher, depending on the manufacturer. The EPA assumes just 4mg. (4) CFLís are made in China with energy from mostly very dirty coal plants that emit much more mercury than US coal plants. (5) CFLís made in China spill as much mercury into the environment as goes into the CFLís. (6) CFLís are delivered here on ships using bunker oil, the worst mercury producer of the fuel oils. Incandescent bulbs are still almost all made in the US. (7) There is no recycling program in place or planned that could handle the number of CFLís proposed. And after many years, even the industrial recycling programs only handle 25% of the mercury from fluorescent lights. (8) It is likely that if any major recycling program is set up, the CFLís will be shipped back to China for reprocessing. Thus, a massive CFL program will put a massive amount of toxic mercury into the environment and very likely into our kidís bodies. And the EPA says that a sixth of them already have too much mercury in them. Given the danger, it might be wise to believe the EPA in this case."
4. "In January issue of Forbes mag, there are two articles concerning "green bulbs" One discusses a broken buld in a childs room that when measured showed 6 x the safe limit of mercury and a very expensive bill for doing a complete clean up of the area...also I don't believe that the average consumer recognizes the enviornmental hazards of dumping these bulbs into land fills. I nour haste to build a better mousetrap, we must consider the inevitable waste that results. People need education first and solid information not just a new incandecent are to be phased out...we'd better take a harder look at the billions opf bulbs that will be discarded and how we will handle the new challenges of the better mouse trap."

go green