Friday, May 11, 2007

The Two Thousand Dollar Light Bulb

By all means switch to the new florescent light bulbs -- just don't break one.

An Ellsworth, Maine woman switched to the new CFLs (Compact Florescent Lightbulbs), broke one, phoned the authorities and ended up with a $2,000 cleanup bill and the lingering concern about mercury poisoning in her home.

Are we crazy? And what about the environmentalists? Have they thought this through?

Here's the money quote from Steve Mallory over at Junkscience.com:

"It’s quite odd that environmentalists have embraced the CFL, which cannot now and will not in the foreseeable future be made without mercury. Given that there are about 4 billion lightbulb sockets in American households, we’re looking at the possibility of creating billions of hazardous waste sites such as the Bridges’ bedroom."

If you're interested, you can check it all out at:

http://www.junkscience.com/ByTheJunkman/20070426.html

and/or

http://ellsworthmaine.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7446&Itemid=31

3 comments:

Thibodeaux said...

This is an urban legend, you can read more about it here:
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/05/compact_fluorescent_lights_are.php#more

Maria Papoila said...

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Please, go to my blog, and if possible, copy my last post to your blog (it´s in english and in portuguese).
There´s a reward, google it!

RkBall said...

thibodeaux.

I would be interested in knowing your definition of an urban legend.

Prospect, Maine is a real town, the Ellsworth American is a real newspaper, Nick Gosling is a real reporter, and Brandy Bridges, the victim, is apparently a real person who faces a real $2,000 bill for mercury clean-up as a result of a broken lightbulb.

The article appeared on April 12th, 2007, not April 1st, so the intent of the paper presumably was to inform and not put one over on us.

The fact that the officials may have been over-zealous and may have over-reacted doesn't reduce the story a legend.

Since you believe the story is an urban legend, would you be willing to pay Brandy's bill, if in fact there is one?

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"