Wherever you turn these days, you see energy-saving products replacing energy-guzzling ones. And that’s a good thing. But occasionally one comes along that isn’t as “green” as we’ve been told. There’s one, in fact, that is so common, people use it in homes around the world. It’s supposed to be safe, energy efficient, and great for the environment. But it’s not!
The truth is this product contains heavy metals that contribute to a number of serious illnesses. I predict that this toxin will eventually get into our food supply in large enough quantities to compromise our health. As if that were not bad enough, this product is becoming so popular it will soon be impossible to get the safest variety.
Like many people, I rushed out to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to replace my incandescent bulbs as soon as I heard that they saved electricity. At the time, I hadn’t heard that they contained mercury. While the mercury is contained, it poses a problem when you need to dispose of the bulb. Break one in your home or office and it’s time to call in the hazard material guys. Seriously. It’s not safe to breathe in any of its fumes.
Unfortunately, we soon will have no choice in what we buy. CFLs are the light bulbs of the future. Incandescent bulbs are no longer available in France, Australia, and other parts of the world because compact fluorescents (CFLs) are more energy efficient. And the U.S. is slowly phasing out the incandescent bulbs as well.
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The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 says that light bulbs must use 30% less energy than incandescents by 2014. That’s just around the corner. We’re already seeing fewer options in lighting fixtures. Most now use either CFLs or LEDs.
CFLs produce significant electrical pollution as well, the dangers of which I’ve discussed extensively in my newsletter. What’s more, the mercury they contain is sure to find its way into our landfills and waters unless everyone disposes of them properly, which just won’t happen. Unfortunately, I believe many people will just toss them in the trash where they’ll break and leak toxic mercury. LED bulbs also contain toxic heavy metals and need to be handled carefully as well.
So what can you do? You can stock up on incandescent bulbs beginning with the 100-watt bulb, which will be the first to become obsolete by January 2012. I prefer GE’s Reveal brand incandescent bulbs, which are full spectrum (like daylight) rather than the yellowish glow of ordinary incandescents or the cold blue of CFLs. If you do choose to use incandescent bulbs, begin using them in reading lamps and train yourself to turn off all lights when you’re not using them.
Become familiar with using CFLs safely and learn how to clean up any broken bulbs. Vacuuming and sweeping are neither safe nor effective. Contact the Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov) for more information.
Consider using a safe and effective chelation formula on a daily basis to prevent the buildup of mercury and other toxins in your body. I prefer Pectasol Chelation Complex because there’s good science behind it. Begin taking two capsules twice a day on an empty stomach for one to two months, and then one capsule twice daily thereafter. It’s an affordable and effective solution to a product that isn’t “green.”
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand