Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's the Little Things

A quick update, oh readers of the blog, on the never-ending quest to make compact fluorescent bulbs safer.

As regular readers will recall, these energy-sipping bulbs have an Achilles Heel, the small portion of mercury in vapor form.

A neurotxin, a cracked bulb may not a Superfund site make, but having mercury vapor sailing around your home is not something we want to inflict on our already body overburdened children.

Enter Brown University professor (trumpets sound) and student Natalie C. Johnson.

In this article in The New York Times, it was reported they may have discovered a material that can capture the mercury vapor from a broken tube.

After experimenting with tiny particles of sulfur, copper, nickel, they discovered that selenium -- "nanoselenium" to be exact -- found particles of a certain size "were capable of binding with almost all of the mercury from a lamp," according to the Times.

So keeps your eyes peeled for lamps wrapped in cloth infused with nanoselenium. In the meantime, recycle those bulbs. Home Depot now takes them for free.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How exactly do you expect to capture mercury vapor with this cloth? Perhaps it will work on a liquid mercury spill, but I can't imagine that you will be able to trap vapor with it. CFLs are as dangerous as ever.

July 8, 2008 7:27 PM 
Anonymous D. Read said...

I would like to see a demonstration on the clean up of these bulbs and how much it would cost to do it properly. It would be intresting to see a someone on the senate floor break one of these bulbs and see what it cost to clean it up according to the guidlines of the regulators. And also where are all the burned out or broken bulbs going? To the landfills? Probably the same place as all the dead batteries.... I am glad Pottstown landfill is (almost) closed.

July 16, 2008 10:32 PM 

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