Why I Hate Compact Florescent Lightbulbs

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Why I Hate Compact Florescent Lightbulbs

Okay, look:  there’s no question that ordinary incandescent light bulbs are on the way out.  Another few years, and they’re going to be as rare as candles.  I’m okay with that; they’re a 150-year old technology, they put out most of their energy as heat rather than light, they’re inefficient.  With more and more people crowding our poor planet, and more need to make the best of the resources we have, I can dig it.  I’m okay with it.

But I’m pretty convinced the CF light bulbs are not the way to go.  Yes, they’re definitely more efficient.  Other than that, honestly, they suck rocks.  How? Let me count the ways:

  • CFs cost more to manufacture than incandescents
  • CFs cost more at the store–quite a bit more, honestly
  • The light they give out–and let’s not be diplomatic here–sucks; it’s harsh and unpleasant, and you have to protect yourself with a lot of gauzy lampshades to deal with it
  • They are filled with mercury, which is a flippin’ neurotixin; yes, the same chemical that caused us to stop using glass fever thermometers they are now putting in our light bulbs
  • Because of the mercury, any time you break one of these suckers, you’re supposed to air out the room for several hours (yes, you read that right!)
  • Because of the mercury, when you get rid of these babies, you’re not supposed to just dump them in the trash–which is almost certainly what almost everyone will do–but rather there is a complicated disposal process that you the average person can’t deal with; right now, your best bet is to collect them and hand them in at your nearest Home Depot (No Home Depot nearby?  Bummer!)
  • Because of the mercury, there have been reports of mercury poisoning by workers at the manufacturing plants of the bulbs
  • The high price is supposedly compensated for by the extra life of the bulb–a proposition I’ve found, in the actual world, that doesn’t hold up worth beans; I’m lucky if I get a year’s use out of a “3 year” bulb–hardly cost effective
So in conclusion, we’ve gone to a more energy efficient solution by accepting a deadly neurotoxin into our homes with a higher cost, more difficulty in disposal, more danger in manufacture, that pubs out an inferior quality of light.
Yup, I know we can’t go on with incandescent bulbs.  But this is really a crappy alternative.  Any of you folks got a better one?  I’m thinking:  candles.

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