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Light Bulbs Pose Health Risks

SCMP – Updated on Jan 05, 2009

I refer to the letter by Michael R. K. Mudd (“We must opt for energy saving light bulbs”, December 27). I would like to raise a number of points about these energy saving light bulbs that was not mentioned.

Though they consume less electricity, they pose health and environmental risks.

Fluorescent bulbs contain neurotoxic mercury vapour and if broken indoors they contaminate the air and require special clean-up procedures (no vacuuming, for example). When disposed of in ordinary trash, they are eventually broken and add to our city’s already severe mercury pollution.

For years traditional fluorescent bulbs have been widely used in offices but now compact fluorescent light bulbs are making their way into homes where they pose big risks especially to children. And promoting the increasing use of these bulbs without proper and efficient disposal systems will just increase the amount of this cumulative highly toxic poison in our city.

The manufacturers are not mentioning these dangers. And the government has made no special effort to educate people on the careful handling of these bulbs nor organised collection of this hazardous waste, just as it has not adequately addressed the disposal of batteries, computer waste and dental amalgam, all of which are toxic and contaminate our air, water, and food supply.

P. Tung, Repulse Bay

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