Though there are many advantages of using CFL lights and bulbs like reduction in energy consumption, lesser power bills and longer life of the bulbs, still we encounter with many health hazards and risks from the use of CFL bulbs and lights.
Major Health Hazards:
CFL bulbs and lights contain mercury which is poisonous. This poses a very big threat to our environment when dumped in landfills along with other garbage after becoming obsolete. Such electrical products can emit poisonous vapour and gases that contaminate air and water. Moreover, most CFL bulbs and lights emit ultraviolet rays and blue light rays which are very harmful to people already suffering with sensitive skin problems. Some retinal damages are also associated with the emission of these rays.
Normally, CFL bulbs take more time to give light after switching on which may be irritating for some people. Sometimes due to frequent voltage fluctuations, CFL bulbs may develop flickering continuously and strain the eyes. Further, on other occasions the lights may become relatively dim during the end of their life period, thereby causing pressure and strain on our eyes. In some cases, older bulbs may produce smoke and gases harmful for human body and environment. The electronic ballasts also may fail some times during the life span of the CFL lights thereby emitting bad smell and smoke which is harmful for health.
Some standard CFL lights and bulbs are not prone to dimming applications when needed. So neither can we keep the light on nor switch them off, thereby causing unnecessary strain to eyes when brightness is unwanted.
Tips for Disposal of CFL Lights and Bulbs:
• CFL lights and bulbs should not be dumped along with other waste material. They should be kept separately for disposal. Utmost care is to be taken to protect these things from the reach of children as children are prone to enjoy playing with mercury.
CFL bulbs and lights are to be collected separately and are to be recycled by the waste disposal authorities. Until they are recycled, they should be stored separately taking care that they are not broken in handling.
Handling broken CFL lights and bulbs requires more attention. All broken material should be properly covered, packed and handed over to recycling authorities. They should not be packed in plastic bags as poisonous gases and vapours continue to leak from plastic bags. So it is better to pack them in glass containers.
• Guidelines to purchase crushing machines with mercury absorber filters should be given to municipal authorities so that they can crush used and broken CFL bulbs and lights before transferring them to recycling plants. This practice can help in controlling environment pollution as mercury of the bulbs would be absorbed by the filters preventing it from spilling out or exposure to environment.