maybe you should reconsider, especially if you have kids
In light of Earth Day yesterday, you may have finally switched out your incandescent lights and replaced them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Or maybe you went “green” a while ago and have been using CFLs for years. Either way, beware.
When a CFL breaks in your home, it is considered a toxic mercury exposure. These wonderful “green” lights ride a very fine line from being better for the environment to being terrible for your health in a matter of shattered seconds.
Inside the intact CFL light bulb lives mercury vapor. The mercury gas escapes the CFL when the glass is broken. That’s not too much of a problem until your 2 year old grabs one and drops it on the floor. Or there’s an earthquake and all the CFLs in your home break. These energy efficient bulbs, even though they are “green”, are a source of toxic mercury exposure when the glass fractures. The mercury vapor is breathed in, enters your body through the lungs, and dissolves into your blood. This kind of mercury has a very short half life in the blood, making it virtually impossible to test for the mercury exposure with a simple blood test. Where did all that mercury in the blood go?
Mercury is a neurotoxin. Once it gets in the blood, it doesn’t like being there, so it quickly redistributes to other tissues in your body. One of the places it loves is the brain.
This is of particular concern when it comes to children and babies. They are little. They take more breaths a minute than adults do. Infants breath even faster than kids. This means if children or infants are around a freshly broken CFL, they are rapidly inhaling the mercury vapor. What’s worse is that mercury vapor likes to hang out around the floor, right where the kids roll and play.