Sunday, May 2, 2010


We bought them when they first came out.

The stupid, lame-brained, half-witted, self-important, all-knowing, all-seeing, "we know what's best for you" environmental wackos told us we should.

"So," we thought, "Let's just give it a try and 'go green.'"

Thus, we bought a package of CFLs.

I put one in my office, and presto! I could not see as well as with the same wattage of incandescent bulb, and the color was really raunchy, so I took the CFL out and put the old bulb back in.

We stored the now unwanted CFLs in a cabinet in the laundry room, and thought no more about it.

At some point in the past, we put something in the self-same cabinet that was not pushed all the way back.

When the door closed, it pushed that something back into the package that contained the CFL. Unbeknownst to us, the CFL got broken.

Last night, my wife removed something from the cabinet and down fell the unremembered CFL package, already broken bulb and all.

It fell between the clothes dryer and the wall, breaking yet another CFL!

So, we had TWO broken CFL bulbs in a place we could not reach them.

My wife had not read the EPA instructions (found half-way down the page of the EPA link).

When I heard the commotion, I went to the laundry room and found her sweeping up the debris as though it were breakage from ordinary light bulbs.

I can't blame her.

For her entire life she and her parents have just swept up the remains of broken bulbs, no one had told her any differently, so she was just being a good little wife and cleaning up the mess.

"No, no, no!" I said, with all the earnestness of a man trying to hide his horror at the gravity of the situation. "You can't do it like that! Let me download the instructions for HAZMET cleanup of CFLs for you."

We have been up all night trying to clean up the mess, including the mess we spread around before following the EPA instructions.

We also no doubt have particles of glass and mercury laden powder UNDERNEATH the clothes dryer, which neither of us is able to move, me because of my heart, and she because of fibromyalgia.

So here we are...two sleepy people, by dawn's early light, and too much exposed to say, "Good night."

According to a study by Oklahoma State University, mercury, being a heavy metal, never leaves the body on its own. It affects the lots of body parts, including the brain, causing confusion, irritability and, yes, even death.

If you have bought, or continue to use CFLs in place of incandescent bulbs, thinking you are helping the environment, you are misguided, ignorant or just plain stupid.

If you say, "Well, I've been using them for years with no ill effects, so I'm going to keep on...," well hang in's only a matter of time.

Get rid of your CFLs today and replace them with real light bulbs before what happened to us happens to you.

But how much damage could be done by two little lught bilbs?

I don't think I have hed ony brine domage to moiself. Averythong sooms nermul soooooooo for.


Anonymous said...

Thank Big Brother. These horrible bulbs will be all we can buy in a few years.

The mercury thing is overblown. Kids used to play with it when a thermometer broke. Of course, that was back before bicycle helmet and we sprinkled DDT on our breakfast cereal...

Nice ending! ;)

Joe said...

Silverfiddle: I never was one of those "hoarders" know, the guys who prepared for nuclear winter, food in the pantry, clothes in the fall-out shelter and all. But I DO buy extra incandescents every time I shop where they are sold.

BetteJo said...

I worked in a dental office when I was 16 and I used to play with the mercury that was mixed with silver for fillings. I'm assuming it didn't hurt me, that was a very long time ago.

Joe said...

BetteJo: Ahah! You're assuming. Given how smart you are now, think how brilliant you would be today if you hadn't done that.

Susannah said...

Joe, you MUST see this post by my new blogger friend, Renee. Funny, how small a world it is, huh?

Silver~ Is it really true that incandescents will be 'outlawed' in the coming years? For this junk? Really? If so, I'm becoming a hoarder, like Joe.

P.S. I used to love it when the thermometer broke. So much fun to wobble the mercury around on the tile floor. (Maybe that explains some things...?)

tammy said...

I've been hoarding them as well.

Joe said...

Susannah: Too funny!

tammy: Leave some for me...I'll be scarfing them up.

Renee said...

Small world, huh? We've broken several of these. I have no idea how much mercury dust is in our carpet. With small children, lamps get tipped over. With regular bulbs, I don't have to worry about brain-damaging toxins when they do so. NOT SO with CFLs. And we had three CFSs burn and smoke and die in our fixtures. Scary stuff. We're back to incandescent now. I think I'm going to start buying extras like you said you do, because I've also heard they're going to be "phased out" in the next couple of years.

Joe said...

Renee: Thanks for coming by. I hope your mercury levels are safe!