Light Bulbs

We have known for years that the long fluorescent tubes used for lighting contain mercury, implying that the tubes should be disposed of as a hazardous material, and that the tubes give off ultraviolet radiation. We've also known that the tubes give off light that goes from darkness to full light 120 times per second, causing strain on our eyes. Unfortunately, these tubes are still used in industrial lighting.

In the case of residential lighting, new types of light bulbs, compact fluorescent lights or CFLs, are becoming popular. Wikipedia says the following about CFLs.
A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), also called compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light, and compact fluorescent tube, is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp; some types fit into light fixtures formerly used for incandescent lamps. The lamps use a tube which is curved or folded to fit into the space of an incandescent bulb, and a compact electronic ballast in the base of the lamp.
Compared to general-service incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power, and last eight to fifteen times longer. A CFL has a higher purchase price than an incandescent lamp, but can save over five times its purchase price in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime. Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain mercury, which complicates their disposal. In many countries, governments.
Because CFLs consume significantly less power than traditional tungsten bulbs, they are one of the primary devices suggested by government and industry for reducing our dependance on fossil fuels. We have been assured that the amount of mercury in CFL bulbs and the amount of radiation given off by those bulbs is low enough that we can ignore those factors. However, scientists are learning that CFLs may be more harmful to us that we suspected.

I am listing light bulbs as a disaster, because the use of the bulbs is so widespread over the earth. Here are links to scientific research about light bulbs and mercury pollution.
In a new analysis of thousands of U.S. women of childbearing age, Brown University researchers found that most exceeded the median blood level for two or more of three environmental pollutants that could harm brain development of fetuses and babies: lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects approximately ten percent of children worldwide, yet its causes are not well understood. Now, a study led by Susan Korrick, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), and Sharon Sagiv, PhD, MPH, of Boston University School of Public Health, and published in the online version of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine on October 8, 2012, links low-level prenatal mercury exposure with a greater risk of ADHD-related behaviors.
But LEDs do have a dark side. A study published in late 2010 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that LEDs contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially dangerous substances. LEDs are touted as the next generation of lighting,” says Oladele Ogunseitan, one of the researchers behind the study and chair of the University of California (UC)-Irvine’s Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention. “But as we try to find better products that do not deplete energy resources or contribute to global warming, we have to be vigilant [about] toxicity hazards….”
The researchers, led by Miriam Rafailovich, PhD, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and the Director of the Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces at Stony Brook, conducted similar research to a European study on Light Sensitivity. Stony Brook researchers collected CFL bulbs purchased from different locations across Suffolk and Nassau counties, and then measured the amount of UV emissions and the integrity of each bulb's phosphor coatings. Results revealed significant levels of UVC and UVA, which appeared to originate from cracks in the phosphor coatings, present in all CFL bulbs studied.

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