Thursday, July 14, 2011

A light bulb ban? Get Off My Jock!

By now you've likely heard that on January 1, 2012 the federal government's ban on incandescent light bulbs goes into effect. You will then be forced to use the toxic, mercury filled compact fluorescent variety instead.

The new bulbs cost more money, between five and ten times the older, safer yet energy wasting kind. But, don't fret because the new baneful, big ticket, beacons will save you around $50 a year...allegedly...according to the Department of Energy and Sesame Street's The Count (probably).

The new, energy saving bulbs are supposed to last about 10,000 hours (wow, that's a lot). No word on whether those 10,000 hours are calculated on God's time or a scientist's - usually the distinction is quite significant.

When the bulb burns out, whether it's because the science was flawed or it's actually burned it's 10,000 (!!!) hours, due to it's toxicity, you may not toss it in the garbage. You must find your local special waste dropoff site - which means that you'll likely be paying more for trash removal service, however your city likes to stick it to you.

Oh, and according to the New York Post, at New York's special waste dropoff sites, when dumping your toxic compact fluorescent duds you should also bring along your driver's licence so that a sanitation department worker can document your name, address and vehicle registration number while taking note of your harmful waste - think about that five times fast.

Remember the old thermometers? Y'know the glass ones with the mercury inside? Did you ever break one? Did your parents freak out? Well I did and mine did, turns out they were right to. If you break one of these mercury filled, super bulbs, the EPA recommends the following:

Before Cleanup

  1. Have people and pets leave the room, and avoid the breakage area on the way out.

  2. Open a window or door to the outdoors and leave the room for 5-10 minutes.

  3. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.

  4. Collect materials you will need to clean up the broken bulb:
    • Stiff paper or cardboard
    • Sticky tape (e.g., duct tape)
    • Damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces)
    • Glass jar with a metal lid (such as a canning jar) or a sealable plastic bag(s)

Cleanup Steps for Hard Surfaces

  1. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)

  2. 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.

  3. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.

  4. Vacuuming of hard surfaces during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all broken glass, keep the following tips in mind:
    • Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;
    • Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available; and
    • Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.

  5. 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 properly.
    • Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your area. Some states and communities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center.

  6. Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and cleanup materials.

  7. Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for several hours.

Cleanup Steps for Carpeting or Rugs

  1. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)

  2. 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.

  3. Vacuuming of carpeting or rugs during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all broken glass, keep the following tips in mind:
    • Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;
    • Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available, and
    • Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.

  4. 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 properly.
    • Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your area. Some states and communities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center.

  5. Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and cleanup materials.

  6. Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for several hours

Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rugs: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

  1. The next several times you vacuum the rug or carpet, shut off the H&AC system if you have one, close the doors to other rooms, and open a window or door to the outside before vacuuming. Change the vacuum bag after each use in this area.

  2. After vacuuming is completed, keep the H&AC system shut off and the window or door to the outside open, as practical, for several hours.
Heh. Nuclear power and cigarettes are bad but these light bulbs are super awesome...and 20% dimmer.

The Republicans in Congress brought this ridiculous federal ban up for repeal and failed. The Republicans who voted against the repeal (HR 2417) are:

Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-1) - voted "present"

Be sure to let them know how you feel.

Thanks to Meredith Dake for this list.

UPDATE: Thanks to my friend Brian Wood for reminding me that it was Dubya who signed the original 822 page bill which phased out the evil incandescent light bulb in 2007. Another one of George's "big government" boo-boos. #badgeorge

5 comments:

  1. Still Duchess,
    To paraphrase the Casablanca movie, maybe we will always have Paris,
    or at least Paris, Texas!

    Individual state repeal bill by Texas was signed by Gov Perry June 17th...

    ( http://ceolas.net/#li01inx= updates on the other 6 US state repeal bills
    and the Canadian Government's 2014 delay plans)

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  2. oh my God Bless America they must have better things to do.

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  3. hilarious! and informative. on a side note, i would donate to your shoe/drug/vodka fund, but last week i bought some killer black peep toe Cole Hans, then binged on vodka gimlets, and capped the night off with some medicinal mary j from the lovely state of colorado. needless to say, my checking account is dwindling. once it's replenished, i'll happily contribute.
    -your friend, eva mccane

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm gonna follow your indications step by step and I hope to get what I want to. thanks for sharing your tips and knowledge about this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  5. wow i really love those cleanup steps..

    ReplyDelete