February 23, 2008
Blowback from global warming fear-mongers
One of the serious real problems being created out of worries over the phony problem of supposedly man-made global warming is the rush to replace incandescent light bulbs (the kind Thomas Edison invented) with CFL bulbs, which contain mercury. AT has been warning of this since early April last year. But it now appears that even greenies are catching on that they may have unleashed a Frankenstein's monster with the ban on incandescents that will take effect in 2012.
Steve Milloy of JunkScience.com highlights the turnabout that is taking place:
The signal came in a Feb. 17 New York Times editorial entitled, "That Newfangled Light Bulb."
The editorial read, in part, "Across the world, consumers are being urged to... switch to [CFLs]... Now the question is how to dispose of [CFLs] once they break or quit working... each [CFL] has a tiny bit of a dangerous toxin... almost 300 million CFLs were sold in the U.S. last year. That is already a lot of mercury to throw in the trash and the amounts will grow ever larger in coming years... the dangers are real and growing."
The Times continued, "Businesses and government recyclers need to start working on more efficient ways to deal with that added mercury. Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore , is raising the cry about the moment when millions of these light bulbs start landing in landfills or incinerators all at once. The pig in the waste pipeline, she calls it." [....]
Until the Times editorial, the activists and the media had been holding back their customary attacks against mercury-containing fluorescent light bulbs.
Milloy raises the specter of future lawsuits targeting CFL manufacturers and even home-based businesses that improperly dispose of CFLs.
Today's business leaders apparently have forgotten the infamous Superfund program that needlessly and retroactively imposed tens of billions of dollars of costs for pre-1980 waste disposal practices regardless of whether they were legal at the time.
My own efforts to dispose of CFLs properly have led me to drive (think of the greehouse gasses!) to a special facility where they can be handled. I more or less have to do this each time one of them burns out, because they are too dangerous to keep around, with their slender glass tubes able to break easily and disburse mercury vapors in my house.
Milloy correctly notes that greenies became hysterical over mercury in tuna, ordinary light bulbs, and vaccines. But when the global warming scare was in full bloom, CFLs by the hundreds of millions became acceptable.
No doubt some of the same groups will be plaintiffs in lawsuits over mercury pollution from CFLs in a few years.
Hat tip: Bob Teter