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CFL bulbs, crematories both release mercury in air

POSTED: December 10, 2011 1:00 a.m.

I recently wrote a letter concerning the importance of Georgians contacting their representatives about the passage of Senate Bill 61 concerning Georgia manufacturing their own incandescent light bulbs. In this way, leaving the choice of what bulbs to purchase up to us, not to the federal government.

My information concerning the dangers of compact fluorescent light bulbs was questioned by comparing the mercury in these bulbs to the mercury thermometer (which the Centers for Disease Control terms as "a wolf in sheep's clothing."). Also denying the fact that crematories let off mercury emissions was another reason that, in clear conscience, I felt that I must clear up any misconceptions by offering further research.

According to the article "The dangerous fraud behind the forced use of compact florescent lights" by Green Pastures, compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury vapors that are expelled in the air if these bulbs are accidently broken. This is more dangerous than breaking a mercury thermometer, which contains mercury liquid. The mercury vapor from the CFL is immediately absorbed through the lungs, whereas the thermometer releases the mercury liquid that is not absorbed through the skin when touched during cleanup.

The article further states, "When a CFL breaks, it releases 25,000 to 100,000 nanograms per meter cubed of mercury vapor directly into the air of a room, dispersed from floor to the ceiling. And regardless of the diligence of the cleanup, a highly elevated level of mercury vapor remains in that room for days to weeks afterward, at levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Disease Control's own safety warning of not exceeding an exposure of 300 nanograms per meter cubed."

The thermometer cleans up in minutes due to its liquid form compared to the extensive time and repeated cleanings over a period of weeks, as well as repeated ventilation for the CFL vapors. Since the mercury in the thermometer is in liquid state, the vapor state is released inches from the spill at a rate of 17 to 34 nanograms per meter cubed per minute, which is far less that a CFL.

Concerning the mercury emissions from crematories, mercury is just one of 10 pollutants that are known to be emitted from Georgia crematories that do not have filtration systems (wet scrubbers.) Most, if not all, Georgia crematory owners do not have this system due to the extreme high price of the units. Mercury is emitted from these crematories due to the mercury fillings in the teeth.

According to Project 2001 by the University of Florida, "fillings made with dental amalgam can contain more than 0.5 grams of mercury. The intense temperatures of cremation causes mercury present in the fillings to volatize and added to the mercury present in the body, there can be a relatively large amount of mercury released. Studies have found as much as 200 micrograms per cubic meter of mercury during the cremation process of a body with dental amalgam fillings."

Phyllis Marshall
Cornelia



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