Safer CFLs: Why Didn't Someone Think of This Sooner?By now just, about everybody knows that compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) contain some mercury (about 5 milligrams). It's still less mercury than would be emitted by a coal plant if you used energy-guzzling incandescent bulbs instead, and scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say that "the most extreme C.F.L. breakage scenario" measured in a Maine study "only equaled the approximate exposure from a single meal of fish." But no unnecessary mercury exposure should still be the goal, and a new bulb called ArmorLite CFL could help do just that.(The above is a promotional video by ClearLite, not an independent review. It doesn't mean the claims aren't true, but take it with a grain of salt.)
How it WorksBasically, the whole bulb is covered by a flexible coating, and if the CFL breaks, it acts as a bag that keeps all the broken pieces inside. Even if mercury wasn't a concern, it would make sense in places where many young kids play to avoid injuries due to the broken glass.
Amazon sells the ArmorLite CFLs for $8, so they are significantly more expensive than regular CFLs. Hopefully with economies of scales, and maybe other manufacturers adopting similar technologies, the cost will come down. Though they better hurry up, or mercury-free LED lights will take over before they can get a enough market penetration.
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