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For a very long time the standard light bulb that has been used is the incandescent light bulb but this is starting to change. More people have started using the compact fluorescent light bulb however; there are many questions and concerns about Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs). Some common concerns include:
- CFLs do not last as long as incandescent light bulbs (is not true). According to consumer reports, which ran many tests on an array of CFLs, determined CFLs lasted five to ten times as long as incandescent.
- CFL bulbs emit a harsh bluish light (not true anymore). When CFLs were just starting to be used they gave off a white-blue light which many people found unappealing. However, over time manufacturers have changed the CFLs to give off a warmer light which is much like to an incandescent bulb.
- CFLs are costly (the light bulb itself is more expensive, but can help you save money in the long run). CFLs price started out around $9 but has dropped over the years. Although CFLs are more costly, in the end you will save money. This may not sound like it makes sense but think about this; CFLs use about 25% of the electricity to provide the same amount of light. With this being the case, in the long run users will save more money because of reduced electricity costs.
- CFLs is the trash may contaminate the environment and there are not any recycling programs (this statement is somewhat true). CFLs each contain 4 milligrams of mercury, which can escape into the environment if a bulb is thrown into the trash. There are however some retailers such as, The Home Depot and Lowe’s, that have CFL recycling programs but it is important to know not all stores participate in this. There are also many Texas counties with disposal programs known to accept CFLs.
There are also questions on how to clean up after a CFL has been broken. The 4 milligrams of mercury contained in a CFL is not very much but it is still important to be cautious when a CFL breaks. There are a few steps that should be taken when handling this situation:
- For 5 to 10 minutes you should close off the room but open a window to ventilate if possible.
- Clean up the powder and glass pieces with cardboard or a firm piece of paper. After you have picked up the pieces place everything in a sealable plastic bag or jar.
- Go back over the area with duct tape to pick up any leftover pieces. Place the tape in the bag or jar used to pick up the other powder or glass pieces.
- After you have gathered all the extra pieces be sure to seal the bag and place in an outdoor trash container.
- Before going to a recycling center with broken CFLs call to check if they will accept the trash. Not all centers will accept the broken pieces so calling ahead would be smart.