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New light bulbs pose a danger from mercury
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This letter is in regard to the environmental safety and the constitutional rights of the citizens of Georgia concerning the federal ban on incandescent light bulbs, as signed into law by the federal government in 2007.

For the past five years, I have fought the issue of the release of mercury emissions from crematories that are presently being allowed in, or very close to residential subdivisions in Georgia. Now I am finding another environmental threat to the safety of our citizens by being forced to purchase light bulbs which have mercury in them.

These bulbs are referred to as energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. Not only are these bulbs extremely expensive but due to the mercury contents they are very harmful to the health of the family members if accidentally broken.

According to "The New American, "CFLs "have powerful radiation emitting electromagnetic fields which expose people to ‘dirty electricity’ which can lead to a fivefold increase in cancer."

They also conclude that "broken CFLs can be deadly as users are exposed to possible mercury poisoning. In addition, the bulbs have been linked to severe neurological damage, as they can result in migraine and epilepsy attacks."

It is also interesting to note that they have stopped selling mercury thermometers and the dentists are using other materials than mercury in their fillings for teeth due to the dangers of mercury.

To prove this point, consider the restrictions necessary for disposing of CFLs, and also the procedures required if one breaks in the home. First of all, the CFLs cannot be vacuumed, put in the trash or deposited in landfills. One must call the health department or Center for Disease Control for the proper disposal.

Secondly, there are many steps involved in the cleanup of a broken CFL in your home. Before cleanup: Have people and pets leave the room; air out the room for five to 10 minutes (opening windows and door to outside); shut off central heat or air; collect materials for cleanup (cardboard, tape, damp paper towels, glass jar with metal lid, or sealable plastic bag).

During cleanup: Collect all broken glass and powder and place cleanup materials in sealable container. After cleanup: Avoid leaving bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors; continue to air out the room and leave heating/air system off for several hours.

Considering the above, you be the judge of the dangers of CFLs.

There is hope for Georgia residents if the State House of Representatives passes Senate Bill 61 during the next session of legislation around January. This bill states that Georgia will manufacture their own incandescent light bulbs. In so doing, the federal government will have no control over the manufacture or sale of these bulbs.

Recently, a similar bill has been passed by Texas (HB 2150). With the passage of this Senate bill, new jobs will come to Georgia and our citizens will continue having the right to choose their own form of lighting. Contracting our representatives could make a difference.

Phyllis Marshall