07 Mar 2012 Occupy Occupy D.C., Day 17: Mercury Rising
As a public service, National Center Chairman Amy Ridenour held a workshop of sorts on Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza on Wednesday. In conjunction with the “Occupy Occupy D.C.” series of events, she demonstrated the very detailed process of cleaning up a broken compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). She was assisted by fellow occupy occupiers in full hazmat gear.
Containing toxic mercury, a broken (or improperly disposed of) CFL can be harmful to living things. In fact, the first steps in dealing with a broken CFL involve clearing the room of all people and animals, shutting down any central air conditioning and opening windows.
Learning how to lessen mercury exposure is essential now that the government is in the process of regulating the tradition incandescent bulb out of existence. The CFL is unfortunately a popular alternative.
While the clean-up of incandescent bulbs simply involved a broom and a dustpan, cleaning up after a broken CFL — under EPA guidelines — involves sealed bags, duct tape, damp towels and glass jars to contain the breakage.
Amy points out that the first and most pressing problem in this case is that the CFL is located in an area where children play, something the EPA guidelines warn against. The guidelines, however, do not deal with the fact that CFLs and other problematic bulbs are quickly become the only available options outside of living in the dark.
Great job, boys! But to really clean up this mess, it’s up to the people over your shoulder on Capitol Hill to completely and effectively reverse the ban and allow people to continue to buy safe and effective incandescent bulbs!