Opt for CFL Lighting, Caution the Mercury

I’ve previously blogged about the use of compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs in our storeToday’s Weekend Journal has a front page story about the push for “a nationwide energy-saving lighting standard that, if enacted by Congress, would effectively phase out the common household light bulb in about 10 years.”  Additionally, CFL gained some traction from Home Depot’s free CFL giveaways in honor of Earth Day.

CFLs are warmly endorsed by Popular Mechanics based on its test of seven common CFLs (image above) against the common incandescent bulb. (Test results in PDF.)  My paraphrase of its conclusion:

  • CFL produce better light
  • Generates approximately $180 savings per average U.S. household
  • Is better for the environment–uses less than one-third the energy of the common bulb and last up to 9 years

A word of caution: CFLs contain an average of 5 milligrams of mercury (roughly the amount in the tip of a ballpoint pen) which helps increase the bulb’s efficiency and must be properly recycled when burnt out and carefully handled (gloves, airing of room, etc.) if broken.


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