11 May 2007
Cruel twists of fate
Do compact fluorescent bulbs present an unreasonable hazard? Maybe, maybe not. (I lean more toward "not," myself, but that's just me.) Still, it's not like we otherwise never have any dealings with dangerous stuff:
[B]enzene the primary component of gasoline is a CDC class A carcinogen, yet we are not required to wear a haz-mat suit or use a respirator when we pump gasoline into our cars. Despite its dangers, we have lived with gasoline in our everyday lives for a century. The public outcry against excessive requirements for the handling of gasoline would be enormous, so much so that such requirements would probably be pointless.
Maybe the same thing will happen with all those mercury-containing CFL's.
Actually, I wouldn't call it a "primary" component: it makes up maybe one percent of your average tankful, and the EPA proposes to reduce this by 45 percent starting in 2011. Still, gasoline is nasty stuff, quite apart from that highly-flammable vapor, and we've learned to deal with it. I have no doubt we can learn to deal with CFLs. If nothing else, they remind us that ultimately everything is a trade-off.Posted at 11:12 AM to Dyssynergy