Occupy Occupy D.C. Dispatches “HazMat Team” to Clean Up Broken Light Bulb

Federal Rules for Cleaning Up, Disposing of Government-Mandated Bulbs Containing Toxic Mercury to be Demonstrated at Freedom Plaza

Washington, D.C. – A hazardous materials team in full protective clean-up gear will demonstrate the proper procedure for disposing of a broken compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) at Washington, D.C.’s Freedom Plaza (13th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW) at noon on Wednesday, March 7.

This demonstration of the inherent dangers facing Americans due to a government-imposed ban on traditional and reliable incandescent light bulbs is part of The National Center for Public Policy Research’s “Occupy Occupy D.C.” events at Freedom Plaza. The National Center obtained a five-week permit from the U.S. Park Service that forces the Occupy D.C. encampment to share the plaza between February 12 and March 15.

“When it adopted the de facto light bulb ban in 2007, Congress essentially mandated that Americans replace a safe, inexpensive consumer product with one that is more expensive and more dangerous,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “The public was told the expense and danger would help us fight alleged man-made global warming, but that was a lie. Not only is the planet not warming as some alarmists predicted, but the people behind the bulb ban were GE, Phillips and Osram Sylvania – light bulb manufacturers who got cheap, low-profit incandescents banned so they could make more money.”

The 100-watt standard incandescent bulb was banned this past January 1st, and 75-, 60- and 40-watt bulbs will be banned by January 1, 2014. Other incandescents will be banned by 2020, including the Halogen incandescents now touted by some ban-backers as a post-ban alternative to the bulbs Americans have used safely for a century. Promoted alternatives are expensive and potentially dangerous. CFLs, one widely-used alternative, contain poisonous mercury that requires exacting means of disposal and clean-up.

The National Center’s simulated clean-up of a broken CFL is meant to show the arduous process involved in dealing with the government’s new regulations on bulbs and the risks Americans may not know they are bringing into their homes.

“Breaking a compact fluorescent light bulb is a household crisis of the highest order,” said David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research and director of the National Center’s “Occupy Occupy DC” project. “The EPA has a four-page printout on their web site for cleaning up a broken CFL that begins with immediately clearing a room of all sentient life for at least five minutes. And then it’s a tedious process of making sure toxic mercury powder and vapor is removed. I’m thinking about 15 people — including myself — have read these instruction, meaning that the rest of America is at tremendous risk of mercury exposure in the years to come.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank with over 100,000 recent supporters. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.