While looking for some further information on good and bad petroleum energy news, this report popped up. Think of this post as a place marker for the Baron; he’s sure to read whatever I put up when he gets back so this bit of good news will warm his heart.
Via RealClearEnergy a
link to the Independent brings a story which sounds a lot like what the Baron began to do when he heard about these new improved light bulbs, but well before he knew about his macular degeneration:
How would you view a man who’s stockpiled a lifetime supply of old-fashioned light bulbs because he believes low-energy bulbs could lead to blindness?
I’d view him as someone who plans to stay one step ahead of the regulatory harms that bureaucracy inflicts on average folks. But that’s just little ol’ paranoid me…and the doctors cited below. -D
You might well dismiss him as dotty. But the man in question, John Marshall, is no crank. In fact, he’s one of Britain’s most eminent eye experts, the professor of ophthalmology at the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology.
So concerned is he that he has boxes stacked with old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs at home.
“I bulk-bought incandescent light bulbs before the government made it illegal to import them,” he says. “I have enough to see me out.”
You have to admire the good doctor’s choice of words – i.e., buying enough to ‘see me out’. Amusing choice of metaphor; given that he’s English the wording is probably deliberate. It’s also what the Baron did – stock up on his favorite incandescent wattages…though we are still able to continue stocking up on these ‘normal bulbs’ here in La La Land. Go figure.
The Independent has another doctor-witness:
Nor is he alone in his concerns about modern light bulbs.
Another eminent British professor, John Hawk, an expert in skin disease, is warning they may cause sunburn-like damage, premature ageing and even skin cancer. He doesn’t have any low-energy bulbs in his house, explaining: “I have lots of old-style bulbs I bought in bulk when they were available.”
So there you go: compact fluorescent lights cause blindness and skin disease.
[And cell phones cause governmental agencies itching to follow your every move, but that’s a subject for another paranoid rant.]
Here’s the Independent’s explanation of why the EU would rather expose you to those exploding CFLs which can spray mercury everywhere while it burns your house down – yep, all in the name of making your carbon footprint a daintier (albeit contaminated) size:
The EU ban on “traditional” bulbs was aimed at cutting fuel and carbon emissions. The low-energy bulbs – or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), to give them their technical name – are said to use 80 percent less electricity and to last longer.
The concern is about some of the light rays emitted at high levels by these bulbs, says Professor Marshall.
Recent scientific evidence shows these specific rays are particularly damaging to human eyes and skin. Light is made up of a spectrum of different coloured rays of light, which have different wavelengths. As he explains: “Light is a form of radiation. The shorter the wavelength, the more energy it contains. The most damaging part of the spectrum is the short-wavelength light at the indigo/violet end of blue.
“Incandescent bulbs did not cause problems, but these low-energy lamps emit high peaks of blue and ultraviolet light at this wavelength.”
In the same way ultraviolet rays in sunlight can cause premature ageing in our skin if we get sunburnt, there is a similar situation in the eye, says Marshall.
“You shed skin every five days, but your retina is with you for life.”
The retina at the back of the eye is vital for sight – it’s made up of light-sensitive cells that trigger nerve impulses that pass via the optic nerve to the brain, where visual images are formed.
Sustained exposure to ultraviolet light wavelengths from CFLs increases the risk of two seriously debilitating eye conditions, macular degeneration and cataracts, the professor claims.
If I remember correctly, that report at The Independent contained some EU bumpf about why you didn’t need to worry, though it failed to discuss seriously the mercury or the real problem with the nightmare bulbs:disposal.
Last year I called our county administrator to ask where we could take these mercury bulbs after they’d burned out. She said she didn’t have a clue and that the county supervisors hadn’t voted on the subject. My guess is that they all have stashed their own ‘real’ light bulbs and are throwing whatever CFLs they have into the local dumpsters where they will go to dwell forever in our landfill. Since this county also makes ends meet by taking in Yankee trash, you can bet a future generation will have to ask about the toxic level of our dump sites because their kids are getting strange diseases.
On the other hand, given their present and more pressing problems, do the fine folks in, say, Trenton, care what they send us? Or rather, are they playing caveat emptor here? They need our space to dump their trash and we need their money. Despite any exclusions about what they’re permitted to send us, somehow one is inclined to think the issue never rises to the level of moral imperative in New Jersey, even as individuals hide their used CFLs in empty coffee cans…wrapped in wads of silencing plastic bubble wrap. Just to be safe.
What that report failed to mention, and no doubt many of our intrepid readers have already figured out, is the solution to CFLs.
Anthony Watts pointed out five years ago to his own great relief that you can swap out to LEDs in place of the mercury bombs:
No matter what you think about the veracity of global warming claims, there’s really not much of an argument anyone can make against improved energy efficiency as a way of reducing all emissions, not just CO2. Literally, CO2 sucks all the oxygen out of the energy efficiency issue. The goals of full spectrum pollutant reduction can also be accomplished via improved energy efficiency, and with much less rancor, in my opinion.
I’ve never liked the twisty fluorescent bulbs, even when practically given away. They are slow to illuminate, don’t live up to manufacturer’s lifetime claims, and contain toxic mercury making them a disposal hazard. Watts to like?
Up until now, I hadn’t liked the color temperature of the light that LED bulbs had put out. They were mostly a harsh blue-white. Now, that’s been solved.
So that was my weekend project, improving my energy efficiency. It was painless, fast, and the result was fantastic.
People in Britain ought to check out the comments there. Someone left a link to a UK site for these bulbs…and I used one as a grow-light in our kitchen during the winter. In addition, I found a magnifying lamp for the Baron that uses an LED bulb. They remain cool to the touch and have a better spectrum than those mercury bombs.
Finally, if you want to look at mercury in the environment, see here. They have a book that agw skeptics will love:
Note: this post would have been up hours ago but I got quite lost in You Tube videos about exploding CFLs. I’ve decided to remove the only twisty one we have in the house and replace it with one of Edison’s. The initial cost of LEDs is high, but they draw little current. So it looks like a one-at-a-time project. Besides, we have shelves full of the Baron’s folly to use first. With his eyesight, he gets to choose what kind of light to see by.