Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shoppers Guide to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

by Environmental Working Group (EWG)
December 2008

Start with the fixtures you use most. Choose CFLs for locations where breakage is rare - for instance, for ceiling fixtures rather than table lamps in high traffic areas or clip lamps.
  • BUY a few test bulbs of several brands and try them out in different areas. With standard use, CFLs will last a long time -- all the more reason to make sure that as you consult the EWG guide, you and your family are comfortable with their quality of light.
  • BUY CFLs bulbs with the lowest mercury content. The Energy Star logo is not a good indicator of low mercury bulbs. Instead choose from the 7 types EWG research shows have the least mercury:
Earthmate Mini-Size Bulbs (13, 15, 20, & 23 Watt)
Litetronics Neolite (10, 13, 15, 20, & 23 Watt)
Sylvania Micro-Mini (13, 20, & 23 Watts)
Sylvania DURA-ONE (reflector bulbs)
Feit Ecobulb
MaxLite
Philips with Alto
For online buying options visit ewg.org/greenlightbulbs.
  • DON’T use CFLs where mercury exposure is unacceptable or cleanup is difficult --- children’s rooms, playrooms, recreation rooms, workbenches and near irreplaceable rugs and furniture.
  • DON’T use CFLs in closets and other spots lit for short periods. CFLs take 10 to 15 minutes to reach optimum light and energy efficiency.
  • USE mercury-free bulbs such as LED (light emitting diodes) or halogen energy savers where CFLs don’t work. Also consider them for stairs and hallways where a CFL’s slow start-up poses a safety risk.
  • Cleaning up broken CFL bulbs:
If you break a bulb follow EWG’s 10 step clean-up checklist [ewg.org/greenlightbulbs]. The most critical steps to remember:
• Keep children and pregnant or nursing women away from the contaminated area.
• Close doors and open windows to allow volatile mercury vapors to vent outdoors.
• Leave the site for 5 to 15 minutes.
• Scoop up bulb fragments and use tape to collect tiny particles.
• Seal the waste in a glass jar with screw-top lid.
See the full report here.

Copyright 2007-2009 Environmental Working Group

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