Sustainable Saturday: The Killer CFL


So, okay.  Let me get this straight.

Production of CFLs is poisoning
pretty much every person in the factory.


This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this.  But it seems like I just pushed it out of my head.  Who wants to hear that?  I’ve been supporting and purchasing expensive replacements to my incandescent light bulbs that are actually the exact opposite of everything that I’ve been told.

Last summer I attended a small group seminar led by a beautiful human named Manfred.  He was teaching us about scrap metal and alternative building and took a sojourn into the dangers of CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs).  He talked to us about the factories and the people being poisoned and warned that the most dangerous thing we probably had in our homes at the moment were these light bulbs.

If broken CFLs emit mercury in an airborne form
that can be inhaled leading to a serious toxic exposure.

In that moment I committed to replacing them with LED light bulbs, an even more expensive alternative with a larger energy savings.  I came home, and when I have been able to afford it I have purchased one at a time LED light bulbs in an effort to replace the toxic CFLs.

Then I kind of forgot again.  And I’ve been wandering about under light bulbs that are, according to this video, sucking the intelligence right out of my head.  The scene from Joe vs. The Volcano comes to mind where he says those lights are sucking the juice right out of his eyeballs.

Paul Wheaton once again infects me with information that needs to be passed along.  And then in the comments he blows my mind.

When asked, “So what’s ur take on LEDs then?”

Paul Wheaton responds, “I have written a lot about this at In a nutshell: I spend $8 per year on electricity for lights. I think solving energy problems is going to be by focusing on aspects other than lights. Further, look inside the LED and look inside the incandescent. Which one simply looks less toxic to you? Which light feels better? In the wintertime, which light warms you with efficient radiant heat?”

I don’t even know what to do with myself.  I feel like every attempt I make at getting greener sucks the money out of my wallet and creates more toxic waste.  For a moment I rummage about looking for my oil lamps until I remember the smoke from those can do damage to your lungs over the long term.

Is there a message in the midst of all this misinformation?

I believe there is.  Keep it simple.  If I can light my home with incandescents at a cost of $10 per year I should probably not spend 20 years worth of energy bills to replace my light bulbs.

If you are in a situation where energy is harder to come by – in an RV, a semi, long term camping with a generator, operating off of solar – perhaps the LED light bulb with its extremely low energy use would be a better fit.

That is at least how I have decided to put this information to use in my own life.  I’d love to hear your opinion on CFLs, LED’s and energy use vs. availability vs. cost.  Please leave me a comment below so that we can discuss.

That’s it for Sustainable Saturday!  Tune in next week when we will bring you something that has absolutely nothing to do with Paul Wheaton!


Poet, Artist, Writer, Novelist, Photographer, Mommy, Domestic Partner, Tender of the Earth, and Conduit of Love and Abundance Come like me on Facebook

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No Guts…No Story
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~ Sylvia Plath
Sasha Lynn

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