questionsare you aware of the dangers of cfl light bulbs?

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Snopes

But LED lights don't have the problem. Hopefully, they will get less expensive and eventually replace conventional and CFLs.

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I don't worry about the danger of individual light bulbs. But I do worry about the problem of safe disposal on the long term. It's the same thing with electric and hybrid cars-- there's a lot of debate about whether they are good for the environment (lower emissions, less fossil fuels) or bad (the batteries create a lot of pollution in construction and are difficult to safely dispose of). The only really green solution seems to be not to substitute one thing for another, but to try to just use less of everything.

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Are you trying to tell me that I shouldn't eat CFLs? I recently switched from incandescent to CFLs after going on a halogen binge that ended up with me expelling light. Any recommendations on safe bulbs?

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@adadavis: Yup. This.

But also - if you're running on coal-powered electricity, using one CFL instead of an incandescent will prevent more mercury from being released into the atmosphere than is contained in many CFL bulbs just from the power that is saved.

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@adadavis: I don't care for LEDs. The light from them is too hard. Maybe once they start developing them for home use they'll make softer light versions.

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@adadavis: Lol, just came from your agnostic post. You're on a roll with informative posts. Keep it up!

@moondrake: We just put in LED lights in the kitchen and they were pretty harsh. However, we found these little light diffusers and put them over the lights to help decrease "floor glare". We lost a little bit of overall light, but increased ambient lighting and lost that eye-destroying capability of LEDs.

Also, I was told that all fluorescent bulbs have mercury in them. I assume it is probably the same as CFLs--not in amounts dangerous enough to be toxic. Can anyone else corroborate this? I checked a few websites that were, let's say "less than reputable" and wasn't completely convinced.

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@moondrake: I have a couple of LED light bulbs that are in lamps, and they are hard to tell from conventional bulbs. Not a glare because the surrounding bulb diffuses the light, and I get the equivalent of a 40 watt bulb for about a half watt of electricity. The problem, so far, is that they are still hard to find and hideously expensive. The first one I tested a couple of years ago also malfunctioned after less than a month. The current ones are still okay, but they have only been in a few months. The technology needs to get better and a lot cheaper, but the future is there.

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@aspiringarchitect: Just stay away from daffodil bulbs. Those things are toxic!

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If you get cut up by one, they can cause some very nasty complications, I wish I could find a link to the actual article I just read.........with pictures!

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@curtisuxor: I know that tube florescent bulbs contain mercury, because the local hazardous waste recycling place takes them and recovers the mercury for reuse. My garage has 3 8-foot light fixtures, and I replaced all 6 light tubes last year, taking the old ones in for recycling. I also (carefully) carried in an old mercury thermometer that had lived on the side of the garage since the '60s. The thermometer (which is a type that was ubiquitous in the 50s and 60s) had several times the amount of mercury as all the florescent lights combined.

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As I understood it, the CFLs are a temporary "fix" to the problem, and just as the incandescent bulbs are being phased out now, CFLs will be phased out for LED bulbs within the next decade as well.

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@adadavis: Thanks for the helpful information again. We used to have fluorescent tubes for kitchen lighting and all I knew was to take old lamps to a hazardous waste disposal site.

Fun story of which your illustration about mercury content reminded me: To my horror, a few years ago, I discovered my mother used oral thermometers on my sister and me that contained mercury. I mean, I couldn't imagine a worse place to put mercury--in a thin glass tube that you put into a child's tooth-filled mouth.

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@adadavis: I've got one of those on my front porch. It was there when I bought the house 27 years ago, it was probably already 25+ years old at the time. Still does its job.

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LED appears to be the future of lighting, but they need to get cheaper. I currently use CFL lighting in our house. I don't believe we have an option to recycle them in my immediate area though.

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@moondrake: I took mine off the side of the garage so that I could repaint. The metal was a little rusty around the edges, but it was otherwise in working order. I thought about putting it back up after the paint dried, but I need to sell the house in the next couple of years. If people freak out over a broken CFL, how would they react to a glass tube of mercury attached to the house? I had visions of coming home to see my house surrounded by tape with warning stickers and a HAZMAT team .. so I decided to recycle it instead. My house sits less than a half mile from a decommissioned nuclear reactor that still has the radioactive materials from the containment chamber inside, even though the core was removed. That doesn't seem to bother anyone around here, and visitors just find it a bit interesting. A broken CFL with its 5 milligrams of mercury, though ...

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We converted to CFLs several years ago, with the exception of one dimmable fixture. Not because they're 'green' per se, but because they cost me less to operate than incandescents.

What I really wonder about is what other electronics are housed in the base. I haven't taken one apart to verify, but it has to be some type of transformer or something. The LED lights also use a transformer in each bulb. From a purely efficiency standpoint, wouldn't it make more sense to have the transformer & light element as separate units? With LEDs, assuming that they are driven with the proper current, the lifespan of the transformer would be shorter than the LEDs themselves.