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Mercury in CFL's

Boss

Well-Known Member
How much mercury do power plants emit to light a CFL?
About 50 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S. is generated by coal-fired power plants. When coal burns to produce electricity, mercury naturally contained in the coal releases into the air. In 2006, coal-fired power plants produced 1,971 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity, emitting 50.7 tons of mercury into the air–the equivalent amount of mercury contained in more than 9 billion CFLs (the bulbs emit zero mercury when in use or being handled).

Approximately 0.0234 mg of mercury–plus carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide–releases into the air per 1 kwh of electricity that a coal-fired power plant generates. Over the 7500-hour average range of one CFL, then, a plant will emit 13.16 mg of mercury to sustain a 75-watt incandescent bulb but only 3.51 mg of mercury to sustain a 20-watt CFL (the lightning equivalent of a 75-watt traditional bulb). Even if the mercury contained in a CFL was directly released into the atmosphere, an incandescent would still contribute 4.65 more milligrams of mercury into the environment over its lifetime.

Source:Popular Mechanics
 

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
I saw a show on this just a week or two ago. I was amazed. What a choice eh. It's not a matter of one being better, but rather one being the lesser of two evils. Nice post Boss!
 

Boss

Well-Known Member
I broke one once, and I am highly allergic to most metal to my skin (besides it being poisonous) so I needed to know what to do. I just vacuumed it into a charcoal filter and threw it out. But it got me reading.. :)
 

Racefan

Well-Known Member
I was exposed to extremely high doses of mercury once. I was a laborer at PG&E a electrical company that used steam to produce the electricity they made at a placed called the Geysers. A engineer broke this big ass thermometer in her car and asked me to clean it up. At least a ounce or more. I got out the shop vac and proceeded to try and vacuum it up. With each pass of the vacuum I was breaking the mercury up into smaller particles to where eventually the stuff became vaporized and small enough to inhale. I was 21 at the time and had no idea about the stuff. They stuck a meter in the car and it was at deadly levels. They had to do a big safety write up and I had to fill out and sign all sorts of papers explaining what happened and how and to document the exposure and stuff. The engineer almost lost her job over it too. I still wonder about whether any of that has anything to do with my illness's and problems I now have?
 

Boss

Well-Known Member
The problem with heavy metals is they get in your system and stay. They get stored in specific locations from what I understand and just keep building till it kills you. I remember somthing about mercury in the spine, but I have to go read it again.

I remember breaking a thermometer in the sink once as a kid, and playing with the mercury, I had no clue what it was :)
 

Racefan

Well-Known Member
My mom went insane after the news claimed its $350+ for someone to clean a broke CFL, the hell with metal poisoning thats just inconsiderate.

And they have brought up legislation to make all of california a floro only state. They are trying to make it so that we can't use any incandescent bulbs anymore except for special applications. Sometimes I wonder if the state government has any brains.
 

Beetle

New Member
And they have brought up legislation to make all of california a floro only state.

In Ireland, incandescents will be banned by the end 2009 too. Lots of debate about the mercury factor.
 

POTential

New Member
I broke one once, and I am highly allergic to most metal to my skin (besides it being poisonous) so I needed to know what to do. I just vacuumed it into a charcoal filter and threw it out. But it got me reading.. :)

They did a news report in my area on how to clean a broken CFL up. You have to air the room out for a half hour before you can even begin to clean up the bulb! The final step involves using a vacuum and then throwing the bag away after your done.

They sound fairly dangerous to me.
 

T0aster

New Member
Hmmm. Boss you make a good point about the "net mercury released" difference. To go off on a similar tangent I've been contemplating (stoners do that) how many pounds of coal do you have to burn to produce the electricity it takes to make enough hydrogen to drive a mile in a car that emits only water. I live across the street from a fast food restaurant. Maybe I should put french fry oil in a generator to run my room and grow some green green!
 
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