EPA’s Mercury Ruse

The EPA has singled out coal-fired power plants for drastic action to cut mercury emissions.

Yet, the EPA is allowing compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to be used indiscriminately.

Why is this? Is there a big difference between the amounts of mercury that can be released to contaminate the environment? Or people’s homes?

According to Power Magazine, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between coal-fired power plants and CFLs.

The EPA says there is about 4 to 5 mg of mercury in each CFL.

The EPA estimates that the life of a CFL is 8,000 hours, and that over that same period a coal-fired power plant will emit 4.3 mg of mercury to produce the electricity consumed by the CFL.

Let’s see, 4 to 5 mg from a coal-fired power plant vs. 4.3 mg from a single CFL: Not much difference, is there?

Obviously, most CFLs will end up in a landfill and the mercury will enter the environment.

On one hand, the EPA sets out stringent rules for homeowners to follow if they break a CFL, supposedly because of the dangers from mercury, yet the EPA doesn’t do anything to control the use of CFLs.

Why doesn’t the EPA ban CFLs to the same extent that they target coal-fired power plants?

The EPA’s rules for cleaning up a broken CFL are draconian.

Here are a few items from two pages of instructions contained on the EPA website for cleaning-up a broken CFL lamp.

  • Escort all people and pets out of the room. Next, open doors and windows for 5-10 minutes to air out the room. Turn off the heating or AC system and leave off, if possible, for several hours.
  • Collect the residue using stiff paper, sticky tape, and damp towels. Seal all materials used in cleaning up the broken CFL in a glass jar with metal lid or in a sealable plastic bag. Do not vacuum up the residue, as it may spread the mercury-containing powder into the air. (Don’t break the glass jar.)
  • Store the broken pieces, residue and materials in an outdoor trash container until the materials can be taken to a hazardous waste facility or whatever is required by state law.

And, when installing a CFL, use a drop cloth to prevent contamination in the event the CFL is dropped and broken.

If mercury is as dangerous as the EPA claims, why doesn’t the EPA ban CFLs to the same extent the EPA targets coal-fired power plants?

One can only conclude that the EPA is biased against coal-fired power plants, not because of mercury, but because coal-fired power plants emit CO2.

The logic is straight forward.

  1. Coal-fired power plants emit CO2, therefore coal-fired power plants are bad.
  2. CFLs reduce the need to generate electricity which reduces CO2 emissions, therefore CFLs are good.

As has been shown before, see article Mercury Reality,  mercury found by the USGS deposited in the soil from all sources, is 3,400 times below the safe limit established by OSHA for the workplace. And, mercury from coal-fired power plants is less than ½ of one percent (0.5%) of total mercury depositions from all sources.


Mercury is a ruse used by the EPA to cut CO2 emissions.


See Power Magazine, Battle of the Bulb: http://www.powermag.com/issues/departments/speaking_of_power/Battle-of-the-Bulb_4315.html

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