Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My 101st post

I once broke a compact fluorescent bulb by holding onto the spirals while screwing it into a light fixture and continuing to turn it past the snug phase. Why I insisted on turning it so hard is beyond me. This was back in the days when one CFL could cost you $20 and the easiest way to get one was ordering it from a catalog. It was also in the days before the internet was big, so I couldn't Google instructions on how to clean it up.

I called the company from which I ordered the bulb, and they gave me step-by-step instructions on how to clean the bulb up safely. (CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury, so most municipalities require them to be recycled so that the mercury can be recaptured and doesn't end up in the groundwater. Interestingly, I recently read that the amount of mercury in a CFL is less than the amount of of mercury emitted by a coal-fired plant over the lifetime of an equally bright incandescent. True?)

The Environmental Protection Agency now keeps updated instructions for cleaning up broken CFLs on its Web site. The best practices have been refined since I had to clean up that CFL 10 years ago, which I'm sure means that I inhaled mercury at the time. One would think this would be a cause for worry, but I like to think of it as an excuse for any and all erratic and inexplicable behavior I have displayed over the past decade.

1 comment:

Dekalb said...

I've been putting CFLs in the lamps I build for 15 years or so. They never seem to burn out, I'm more likely to break them.
I think living next door to a big ol' coal fired plant exposed you to a heck of a lot more mercury than that one lil' bulb.
As for the erratic behavior; have you eaten lately?