If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Friday, September 7, 2012

How Bans are Wrongly Justified:
New Safety Section

The "How Bans are Wrongly Justified" page has been revised and updated with a point 12 added.

12. "The safety scares of new technology are overblown!"
"CFL mercury? Look at tuna fish mercury, look at the greater coal plant mercury emissions caused by incandescents!"

I would agree with ban proponents that many "scare stories" in the press seem overblown.
That said,
CFLs have fire, mercury and radiation issues,
LEDs have lead and arsenic issues,
and even Halogen incandescent bulbs have potential Bromine and Iodine gas issues.
ceolas.net/#li18eax (CFLs)
ceolas.net/#li20ledax (LEDs, Halogens)

The fluorescent bulbs, CFLs, have been the main proposed replacement given the development issues surrounding LEDs to give omnidirectional bright light at a reasonable unsubsidised (or even subsidised) purchase price.

The most persistent complaints have surrounded CFL mercury content.
Those who want more on this can get plenty here:
The CFL Mercury Issue ceolas.net/#li19x
[Breakage -- Recycling -- Dumping -- Mining -- Manufacturing -- Transport -- Power Plants]

With respect to the common and somewhat odd type of mentioned jibes of "tuna fish" or "coal plants" being worse, clearly "2 wrongs don't make a right":
If there is a Problem - Deal with the Problem.
As it happens, the coal plant story is a bit of a folk tale by now, see end of the coal section, covering the new emission reduction regulations from using new technology. It never was true anyway, and had it been, then comparatively the release from a broken bulb in a room would tend to be a greater worry to those affected than the release from a distant chimney - also from the extensive EPA, DEFRA and other official CFL mercury clean up and disposal recommendations referenced.
The hidden environmental impact of billions of dumped fluorescent bulbs worldwide leeching mercury is only now beginning to concern legislators.

To keep the points here clear and reasonably compact, the radiation and other issues won't be referred to further.
However, the biological/psychological effects of lighting should also be emphasized - not just the direct safety issues.
Incandescent broad spectrum lighting, veering towards the "warm" red part of the spectrum, has been a "natural" evening replacement for the similar light from burning gas, candles, or open fires, for thousands of years.
Suddenly mankind is using more neon, fluorescent (CFL), phosphorescent (white LED)
lighting instead, with more blue light content, even in "warm" color temperature adjusted versions - and moreover, with more uneven spectra, so that unlike with incandescents, some colors are missing in the light given out. The issues have been particularly well researched in Germany, as also covered in the recent Austrian film Bulb Fiction, for example by Dr Alexander Wunsch (more, Google translated).
Also see the well illustrated Gluehbirne.ist.org articles on light spectrum from different lamps and effects, example (Google translated version).
Also see the extensive well referenced Greenwashing Lamps blog post on blue light issues.
While previously mainly related to CFLs, LEDs are also increasingly coming under scrutiny in these light quality aspects. See ceolas.net/#li22ledx. The American LEDs magazine has good coverage, for example this issue.

[ end of point 12 ]

Meanwhile, as seen on lighting designer Kevan Shaw's blog, post by Martin Granese:
Japanese fluorescent tube fighting.
Probably not covered by an Environmental Protection Agency recommendation...


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