In his Monday broadcast, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, quoting from a N.Y. Times article, related the story of a woman who was unhappy with the inexpensive compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs she had purchased at the local Costco. Apparently some were non-functional right out of the box, others failed within a few hours, all falling far short of the promise of a “10,000 hour lifetime”. Of course, such outcomes are always the case in a capitalistic society. As we often find, you get what you pay for. Buy a cheap incandescent bulb, and similar outcomes are not unexpected.
He couples this with a warning to his audience concerning the evils of mercury contained in the CFL bulbs, invoking the debunked needs-a-hazmat-crew-to-clean-it-up-if-it-breaks argument.
“We warned you. We warned you at the outset of the mercury in these things, of the hazmat disposal risks when you have (sic) change one or when one breaks, how you dispose of them, you don’t just throw them away. We warned you….It doesn’t matter how much or how little there is, if one of them breaks you gotta call somebody, you gotta go to great pains to clean up the mess, and keep your dog or cat out of this mess. You know how little animals run to things that fall out on the floor.”
– Rush Limbaugh, March 30, 2009
However there are many useful, but dangerous, items contained within the home, a category which would include many prescription and over-the-counter medications, household cleaning products, firearms, and, as has been discussed here, linear fluorescent bulbs that have been in use for decades.
Many cleaning products dictate the use of gloves while using them in a well-ventilated room, and this during the actual usage, not just if one accidentally spills.
If Rush is advocating the dismissal of CFL’s due to their mercury content, he apparently either believes his audience incapable of responsibly handling useful, but potentially dangerous, items within the home or is advocating for the removal of all such products from the household. As I refuse to believe Rush thinks so little of his audience’s handling abilities, I have to assume that he is advocating for the remove-and-replace option.
So, while it is unfortunate that Rush dismisses the utilization of CFL bulbs, his advocacy for organic and natural cleaning products is unexpected and appreciated.
- Aren’t compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs dangerous? – Fresh Air. The Scent of Pine.
- Links – Green Shopping – Fresh Air. The Scent of Pine.
- 8 Household Cleaning Agents to Avoid – Gaiam
Rush is a freaking moron that has brainwashed my dad. Morons following morons.
BTW there is only mercury vapor inside a CFL bulb that will be harmless within seconds. I for one have used CFL bulbs for years and never broken one – yes I know, AMAZING! My dad however will break them whenever he sees them cause they are (in his, sorry in Rush’s words coming out of my dad’s mouth) “evil”.
A CFL contains 4 or 5 milligrams of mercury, about the size of a period at the end of a sentence -> . A mercury thermometer contains 500 milligrams! Thats over 125 CFL bulbs!