Old-fashioned technology kept my house from being a toxic waste zone

broken-light-bulbYesterday, one of my kitchen bulbs, the kind that is screwed into a base in the ceiling, burned out, broke free from the base, dropped to the kitchen floor and shattered, sending glass everywhere. I spent a half hour going over the floor repeatedly, each time finding more pieces of glass. I stopped cleaning only when I made two passes in a wide perimeter and found nothing.

Obviously, I wasn’t thrilled by the experience, given that broken glass is as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel. With a house filled with dogs and children, the last thing I need is for someone to slice a foot open.

I did, however, console myself with the thought that it could have been a whole lot worse. The bulb that broke was one of the old-fashioned, now illegal, incandescent bulbs. Just imagine if it had been a modern, government-mandated CFL bulb. filled with mercury. These are the EPA’s instructions for cleaning a broken CFL bulb:

Before Cleanup

  • Have people and pets leave the room.
  • Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.
  • Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one.
  • Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulb:
    • stiff paper or cardboard;
    • sticky tape;
    • damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces); and
    • a glass jar with a metal lid or a sealable plastic bag.

During Cleanup

  • DO NOT VACUUM. Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.
  • Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder. Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag. See the detailed cleanup instructions for more information, and for differences in cleaning up hard surfaces versus carpeting or rugs.
  • Place cleanup materials in a sealable container.

After Cleanup

  • Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
  • Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
  • If practical, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.

So, let’s review what the greenies have brought us:

  1. Broken bulbs that turn homes into toxic waste zones.
  2. Solar panels that barbecue birds
  3. Wind power generators that shred birds
  4. Biofuels that generate C02 before, during, and after production, and that turn whole countries (e.g., Egypt) into famine zones

We’ll be lucky if we survive the greenies’ so-far unstoppable efforts to save the world from the horrors of fossil fuels.

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  • Caped Crusader

    You can’t stop progress!! We are fortunate to have a government that looks out for our every need.

  • Wolf Howling

    CFL bulbs are the penultimate symbol of crony capitalism.  It is why I will never buy another GE product.
    With a friendly far left administration in power, the greens completely control the real seats of power in America today, the bureaucracy – the one that is producing tons of regulations that could never pass even a Democrat dominated Congress.  This is very much akin to the issues over which we fought a revolution some 240 years ago.  To play the old saw, Art. 1, Sec. 1 of the Constitution provides that all legislative power resides in Congress – i.e., the people we elect and over whom we have control by the ballot box.  Never should a single regulation pass into effect that has not been reviewed and approved by our elected Congress critters.     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    You know, or should know by now, that the warming fanatics are out to eliminate humanity. That will restore Gaia to their preferred level of perfection.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Occupy-Innsmouth-ebook/dp/B009WWJ44A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361504109&amp raymondjelli

    How many Congressmen and Senators does it take to change a light bulb?
    Apparently a majority and they changed it into an expensive and toxic piece of crap.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    I’ve got my lifetime supply of the “good” bulbs as invented by Ol’ Tom out in the garage.  As they were being sold out about the time I was leaving Oregon, some of them cost me a whole $0.12 each.  
    Am I smug?  Only a little.

    • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

      I stocked up on a few oldies and goodies myself, to the tune of about $100 worth of good quality incandescents.  Sadly, Mr. BW loves CFLs, so he’s been on a counter-crusade.

      • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

        Should have it in contract that the person that buys the CFL, cleans it up afterwards if it blows up.

  • Charles Martel

    I, too, stocked up on incandescents before the nanny state outlawed the production and sale of such. I have enough to last me until LED bulb prices drop, in which case I’ll have successfully bypassed CFLs almost totally.

    • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

      What’ll you do when they outlaw the unauthorized production O2 though?

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    How long till they figure out that electric ovens draw a lot of power and require everyone to either limit their cooking to the microwave, or get their meals from the Communal Feeding Center?
    Exceptions made, of course, for senior government officials and their friends.

  • Jose

    The US has become a toxic waste dump for China, and we pay them for it.

  • Jose

    Don’t forget that GE chairman Jeff Immelt also headed Obama’s Jobs Council, at least until that worthless body was permitted to quietly disappear.

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  • Kevin_B

    I have mentioned before here at Bookworm and for those whom don’t know or remember I will mention again that I have an education in the field of Environmental Sciences, as well as having an interest in and concern about matters of the environment.  In this capacity, I think I should say a few words about this.
    I am going to start with a few comments on environmental issues. I’m at least rather skeptical about the mainstream theories of global warming. Is it possible that humankind, as part of Earth’s biosphere and systems, has some limited influence or plays a relatively small role in the climate system? Quite possible. But totally screwing up Earth’s climate and causing a planetary catastrophy? I don’t think so. I have in fact never been very interested in the climate issue, despite my background. My interest generally lies much more with things like air and water pollution, the managment of forests and other natural areas, streams and waterways, waste disposal and managment and the relationship between agriculture and environment.  In these areas, we have a number of real and clear challenges (I prefer the term ‘challenges’ over problems) that I think we need to address, but I believe we can address these challenges and find solutions. The means to do so are another matter I am not going to discuss here – let me just say I think it is very possible to find solutions and do a lot of good (and in a lot of cases, we already have).  I’m not at all fond of alarmism and panic, and I’m not very fond of thinking of stuff like a ‘crisis’, except for certain cases such as accidents or disasters. I also do not believe in an inherent conflict and inherent hostility between humankind and nature/the environment, while many environmentalists seem to start from a conflict view hostile to humans.
    That is probably lengthy enough, so I will continue by saying a few words about the subject of your article. I am not a fan of the CFL bulbs. Not only is there the mercury (although not only CLF bulbs contain mercury – fluorescent tube lights do as well), what’s worse for me is that their lighting quality is extremely poor. Not only is the amount of light they give sparse, the color/tone of the light is not pleasing to me. The old incandescents were better. As for modern lights, I’m certainly not unsatisfied with LED lighting. 
    I still believe energy efficiency and not being wasteful with energy are good practices, but that in my mind does not justify banning a working and satisfying (although energy inefficient) product and making the use of a product that doesn’t work well pretty much obligatory. I find the ban on incadescents bulbs to be an ineffective and overly repressive measure. If energy efficiency of lighting is the issue, supporting and giving incentives for technological development would in my opinion be a much smarter option.
    Yes, I believe technology can provide a lot of solutions, also in the area of efficiency in the use of fuel and power. I’m not very tech savy, but I would tend to think that (more) energy efficient, yet lighting solutions with good light quality are possibly, or could become possible. In any case a lot of technological development has already happened, and I believe it is a path that should be explored.
    That doesn’t mean that I disagree with Bookworm’s criticisms on some technologies.  I recognize these technologies are frought with problems. I’m not one to totally write off new/alternative (energy) technologies or think they have no place in the world, but many of the current ones just don’t cut it. 
    In general, I am quite optimistic about technology. I think technology can do a lot of good and provide solutions. On the one hand, there is the potential to improve and advance already available technologies like fossil fuels and nuclear energy (they can be improved, and I still believe both to be good and necessary technologies, and in many cases the best we have). On the other hand, I do actually believe in the invention and development of new technologies as well.  Again: technology and development therein I believe have a lot of potential to assist in finding solutions, and I think it is smart to give incentives or support to such developments. 
    Finally, I do not believe there is a need to radically change our daily lives and the things we do and enjoy.  I don’t think people are very willing to do so, forcing people to do so doesn’t sound good at all, and I’m not convinced it is necessary.  Technology may make it possible to do the same things, only cleaner, better, smarter, more efficiently. Finally, I believe there are small things that aren’t radical and that we can personally do fairly easily and incorporate into our lives, that have substantial effects. 

    • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

      Kevin_B:  I wholeheartedly concur.  I’ve often said here that, while I dismiss the greenie madness, I do believe that we, as the most intelligent animals and adaptable mammals on earth have a responsibility to be good stewards.  We do not, however, have the obligation to use crackpot environmental theories as a justification for driving ourselves back to the Stone Age or extinction.

      • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

        Oh, they’re not going to drive themselves back into the Stone Age. They’re just going to drive the peasants and slaves into the age of death. For themselves, the ruling elect, all the luxuries of pristine wilderness estates will be theirs. Ala socialism and communism.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The LEft believes slavery is necessary. They will force people to think and do things as the Left wills.
    That is the nature of the war. And it’s not something people can recycle themselves out of.