Report: Fluorescent bulbs may do more harm than good

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by By KEELEY CHALMERS, kgw.com

kgw.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 6 at 1:22 PM

Bulb report

If you use compact fluorescent bulbs to light your house, a new study shows you may actually be doing more harm to the environment than good.

That's a surprising find considering CFLS's are touted as a greener alternative to traditional lighting.

They are much more energy efficient and last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs. But unlike traditional bulbs CFL's contain toxic mercury.

The study by a team of researchers from Yale University shows that in states that rely on cleaner power like Oregon, the fluorescent lights may actually do more harm than good.

The study says fluorescent bulbs actually release more mercury than Oregon coal plants. But Kendall Youngblood with Energy Trust of Oregon says the study is simply not accurate.

"Oregon is not necessarily as clean powered of a state as the general media thinks it is. We use a lot of coal to produce our electricity here in Oregon so there is still mercury emission associated with the electricity that we use," explained Youngblood.

In fact PGE says 26 percent of the energy it produces comes from coal. What energy experts will agree on is that this study shows the importance of *recycling the bulbs.

The mercury is released when the bulbs are put into landfills.

By recycling them, there would be no pollution.

CFL's can be recycled at all of Metro's household hazardous waste sites and at all Home Depots. Manufactureres say they are working on ways to reduce the mercury in CFL's.

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