Energy savings: a potential ecological, environmental and health hazard.
Dr. J. Rozencwajg, MD, PhD, NMD.
Saving energy is the right thing to do nowadays and nothing is easier than replacing old incandescent light bulbs with the modern ones that use less electricity to produce the same amount of light, last longer and are often presented as having a more natural and healthier light spectrum.
We should all happily embrace that victory of science and technology and shower thanks on the inventors and manufacturers of this modern day simple weapon against pollution and global warming.
Does that sound sarcastic? Because it is.
Suspicious as I am that something that sounds too good to be true indeed is not that good, I tried to find out how this modern marvel works. That was not very difficult, it is all over the internet; in fact it works very much the same way as the fluorescent lights do, but the gas used is Mercury gas.
The amount of mercury in each bulb varies from 4 mg to 10 mg, with a majority of them around 5 mg.
The World Heath Organization (WHO) considers that a “safe” exposure to mercury is 0.05 mg/m3 for a maximum of 8 hours/day.
This means practically that should one bulb break, its 5 mg contents would contaminate a 100 cubic meter volume, or a volume of 4.65 meter in length, width and height or 7.07meters in length and width with a height of 2 meters. According to the US EPA rules, this type of contamination compels you to call the Environment agency that would send technicians in hazmats to decontaminate the area.
So imagine you are changing a light bulb in your house, it falls from your hands and it breaks; you sigh, have a big breath, take the broom, get close to the glass fragments and clean the mess: you have been massively intoxicated with mercury! It then seeps in the carpets, in the walls, stays in the air if you do not energetically ventilate the room; the rest of the family comes in, everybody is intoxicated with mercury, repeatedly if it is not eliminated.
Now imagine there is a small earthquake, the minor ones we are all living with, year in, year out; those new bulbs have fallen from the shelves in the shop and many are broken; not only will the cleaning crew, not wearing any protection, be poisoned, so will the shoppers until the mercury concentration drops low enough.
Or a truck bringing a load of the bulbs crashes: you will have a cloud of poison hanging around or pushed by winds into the closest city, part of it seeping in the soil and in the water, eventually coming into the food chain.
And as those bulbs eventually burn out and cannot be recycled, they end up dumped in the waste disposal area, breaking down and freeing the mercury, either as a gas or in the soil, therefore eventually going in the water and food we consume.
Yet, there is no mention on the packages that the bulbs contain mercury; they are not packaged or stored in a way that could prevent accidental breaking; there is no system to collect the used ones and render them innocuous; there is no warning anywhere about what should be done if one or many do break.
As we try to protect ourselves from obvious pollution, global warming and other niceties, we willingly introduce time bombs in our houses and cities; we are slowly creating more chronic diseases while under the delusion we are doing something good for us and for the planet.
According to the Textbook of Modern Toxicology by Hodgson and Levi, those are the possible health effects of mercury exposure: affection of the nervous system with the foetal brain being more sensitive, leading to cerebral palsy-like symptoms and mental deficiency; nephrotoxicity with oliguria, anuria and uraemia; and that is a very short and condensed summary.
Mercury is recognized by world authorities as being one of the most toxic metals for the human being (and animals….).
Why is it that the industry has once again be allowed to use a most powerful poison, distributed in one of the most fragile container? Indeed, those new bulbs have been a blessing for them, allowing them to dispose of the vast pile stock of mercury at a profit and with the congratulations of a scared world.
First fluoride in the water, then depleted uranium in weapons, now mercury in every household……..what is next?
This is not science-fiction! This is not the demented hallucination of a tree-hugger! This is not speculation for political gain or sensationalism! This is the daily danger we are now surrounded with, everywhere! Check it yourself!
Are we going to do something about it? Are you? Dr. J. Rozencwajg, MD, PhD, NMD.
Dr. J. Rozencwajg, MD, PhD, NMD.