The g’ment taketh and then dumps on you in spades

Under the newly reinterpreted guidelines of the Clean Air Act, the EPA has now decided that no new coal plants will be authorized to be built, because of their normal emissions of mercury.  It seems that there is some mercury inherent in coal and even after the exhaust scrubbers, it makes it into the environment.  During the course of generating enough electricity to power, say, a new compact flourescent light bulb for its entire rated life, a coal plant will release 4 to 5 milligrams of mercury into the environment.  This is of course assuming that it reaches its rated life of 6000 to 15000 hours.

There are some studies that suggest that a CFL puts out 51% less light than claimed, since it needs time to warm up to begin functioning at capacity, and that its overall lifespan is 85% shorter than claimed, since it is built to only start a limited number of times before the starter fails.  X times number of starts and it’s done.

Why is that a big deal?  It seems that each CFL contains between 4 to 5 milligrams of mercury.  Which is a BIG deal if the bulb is broken.  Because it turns into gas and can float around the house causing permanent subtle or not so subtle nerve damage to living beings there.  So much of a problem that these are NOT supposed to be disposed of in the trash, not just that they might break there and still be in the house, but also that they would likely break in the local landfill and then leach into the local water. 

Per the EPA, if one breaks in the house, you are to shut off the HVAC, open windows and doors, and then exit the house for several hours, taking children and pets with you.  Cleaning requires NO vacuuming.  Instead you are to blot it up with sticky tape and double bag the debris, ALONG WITH the clothes you were wearing and then turn both in to your nearest toxic waste facility.  Which is where the dead bulb was supposed to be transported to for final disposal anyway.  Wonder how many hours drive that is going to be for the citizens who live out in the rural areas?

Like that’s going to happen?  Instead, this fiasco guarantees that most American households are going to have all of that mercury that has been saved by shutting down coal power plants, instead transferred directly into American homes where it will be periodically inadvertently released by well-meaning busy families going through their day without reading the fine print about what has been foisted on them as a substitute for the now illegal Edison bulbs.  And if the actual bulb ratings are as flaky as some of the studies suggest, then it may be 3 to 4 times as toxic to Americans as just using the coal plants.  Bet THAT won’t make it into the media.

The government is going to help us even if it kills us.

About drrik

3rd career and 2nd childhood. Spends spare time repairing old things. Aspires to burn more gasoline, gunpowder, and ink in pursuit of slowing down. Child of the 60s and aspiring student of history. No desire to see us repeat the failed social experiments that keep failing for lack of human beings that meet the left wing standards and have to be killed off. Did engineering long enough to realize that very little is new and the wheel does not need to be reinvented.
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4 Responses to The g’ment taketh and then dumps on you in spades

  1. CW says:

    Excellent post.

    The unintended consequences of liberalism…

  2. drrik says:

    The consequences are not important, only the intent.

  3. Mrs. AL says:

    What I want to know is who the first lawyer will be to sue the government when someone becomes ill or dies from this stuff. Say, suppose we will be seeing ads on TV about a class-action law suit? Can’t wait. I was “there” when the asbestos thing was heating up. Even did some work for one of the companies coming under fire. Get some popcorn, cup of hot chocolate and watch for the ads.

  4. drrik says:

    What I expect this will do at best is to drive the CFLs out of the market, with the current manufacturers paying through the nose to some law firm as a class action settlement and then people with actual nerve damage will end up have to register and “prove” that they were hurt by the bulb. At worst it may also drive regular flourescent bulbs out of the market as well as the publicity for the mercury toxicity becomes more and more known, since no industry in the continental US is actually disposing of these as they are supposed to be disposed of. Instead, maintenence workers play around with them as fragile pretend light sabers and have crashing duels, coating themselves in phosphor coatings and mercury, unaware 0f setting themselves up for neurological problems down the line.

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