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Throwing Away A Lightbulb

How-to-dispose-of-fluorescent-light-bulbsBy Kim Rossi

I was cleaning the house this week, when I noticed that a bulb had gone out in the girls' bathroom. The blown bulb matched the two others that had gone out ages ago. Life gets busy and I  just didn't think about those bulbs until the room was so dark that I had to change the bulbs.  To the wayback machine - we moved into this house 8 years ago. The girls' father bought Philips long lasting bulbs for the fixture as a money saving issue. I was not happy about this purchase because lurking inside what looks like a standard round bathroom fixture bulb is the tell tale curly tail of a mercury filled light. 

Today I removed the bulb as carefully as a bomb squad checks a pressure cooker left in Times Square. "Don't drop it. Don't drop it. Don't drop it." And then, once safely removed came my question, "OK, now what?" Tomorrow is trash day. I threw an incandescent bulb into the trash. But the mercury bulb? What the heck do I do with it? We have several stacked in the garage. Waiting for the town's "Take Your Poison to the Dump Day!"

How many people take the time to consider what to do with these bulbs? How many just throw them away - letting them shatter into a cloud of mercury vapor?

I'll never buy one of these lights again. I scour stores for incandescents. Heck, I even buy the old school Reddy kilowatt(and I'm getting old so I need this) PINQUE soft light pink bulbs for some of my rooms. I like bright, warm light. I dislike harsh, blue light or light that takes longer to warm up than an oven set to 400! I don't like knowing that an error could mean the further loss of health for my girls - or for me.  Think I'm full of vapor gas already? Check out Eric Gladen's movie "Trace Amounts" and follow his journey into hell after a mercury tube light broke near him.

Reddy Kilowatt would not be amused by the danger his young relatives now pose.

Kim Rossi is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.


Grace Green

Thank you, Jenny Allan and Autism Uncle for your very interesting comments. I believe we have to clean up our environment in every way, including mercury, and all the other toxins we are poisoning our children and ourselves with, and I too would include nuclear power in that. As someone who has lived more than a year now "off grid", that means including last winter, I can say we all could manage with a lot less lighting, and heating, thereby reducing the problem to a much more manageable size. For example, it's amazing how we don't fit our lives to daylight hours but would rather just switch on the lights. It's also important though to keep on track with the latest technology, and always find out how to dispose of things safely. Otherwise, are we justified in complaining to our doctors and dentists about their methods?

Jenny Allan

LED bulbs may not contain mercury, but they contain other toxic ingredients including lead, arsenic and nickel, and require safe disposal.
"The Dark Side of LED Lightbulbs"

In Scotland our SNP Government is phasing out nuclear and coal fired power stations in favour of renewables, including wind and hydro power. In a typical year 30-50% of energy requirements are achieved. I agree with Autism Uncle, natural gas is "an arguable option to nuclear", and can be generated from organic waste and renewable plant sources. Yes- Carbon Dioxide is produced, but this gas is part of the 'carbon cycle' and is taken up by plants to produce oxygen. Restoring the natural balance should be a priority, yet we continue to chop down our rain forests.

After Fukushima and Chernoble, the idea of building more nuclear power stations scares me. We can never eliminate human error and the threat of terrorism is ever present.

Autism uncle

Appropriate clarification:

My earlier power plant comment about dismal efficiencies referred to older technology; Recent vast improvements employing natural gas for "combined cycle" and "combined-cycle/cogeneration" now being built around the world raise energy net efficiencies to 50% and up. At any rate it's an arguable option to nuclear. Yet, the prime responsibilty still is on the end users, the public. As to windmills for gridpower, they have forever shown massive, never-ending slaughter of birds and bats, against federal and state laws but politically ignored.

Autism uncle

Sorry to tell most commentors,

"There's no free lunch" when it comes to modern illumination in home, work, etc. Before incandescent bulbs our cultures around the World were slaughtering all the great whales (& even the little whales) to obtain oil for indoor and street lighting (coal oil was also used).

Today's regional power plants, when using coal or natural gas are bottom-line about net-net 2 to 3 percent efficient when factoring in mining, gas drilling, transportation, power-plant efficiency, transmission line losses, and of course their emissions include acid-rain. Despite the absurd fear mongering, vastly improved nuclear power is by far the best option, and, switching to today's LED light bulbs, and sundry other ways to stop squandering home energy use.

Look into your mirrors if you care to see who is the real culprit: A typical home literally wastes 50% to 67% of its lighting/energy consumption.
Conservation (eliminating waste) and nuclear power and such as LED lighting are top examples, if people actually gave a damn and took personal responsibility - like IF doctors/nurses had to take personal responsibility for giving their demonstrably destructive vaccines.

Because "science"

Turns out switching to fluorescent was just a patent coup for bulb makers and makes infinitesimal difference in terms of carbon impact.

Flourescent Flaggelation

Ace Hardware takes them our here in California.
I was in a big hardware chain buying a replacement long bulb (as much as I hated to it was the only type that fit into a fixture we couldn't afford to replace) and I saw a salesman break one. Despite this article from the EPA nothing happened. So you go to any store that sells these, even walmart and target that sell lamps that include the squiggly bulbs--of course they break, and then we are walking in a mercury nightmare. Sometimes it sucks to be Cassandras doesn't it. We see it, we know it, but because it happens on such a large scale, no one wants to believe it.


go Trump

Seems like there are 5 milligrams of mercury in each of those damn things, enough to poison thousands of children. I cannot believe there is not some mercury on the outside of the bulb.

If everyone suddenly switched to LEDs and electrical usage went down by 20%, the power companies would quickly be begging for a rate increase so they can survive...

You might be allowed to save energy, you will never be allowed to save money....


Even when the bulbs are not broken, but just in use, they give off a strong electromagnetic field that a Trifield gauss meter will show. Not a good thing, especially all around the house, and definitely not on a nightstand table next to one's head. But this is what our tunnel visioned government promoted as "green".
Important post, Kim. Thanks.


I have the same "bomb squad" mentality with these bulbs, and am so happy LEDs are now available and cheap. I know Lowe's takes the CFLs, but they just have you drop them in a recycling bin (*crunch*). And I know of no solution for the long tubes.

Angus Files

Trying to explain what the insane have done has the effect of the sane explainer seem insane. Mercury in a light bulb you couldn`t make it up!.I remember when they came out one packet said, if the bulb explodes close the room for 3 days and contact environmental control.How can you keep out of any room for 3 days in your house just leave the toaster on for 3 days why dont ya!!..lunatics, asylum!

Pharma for Prison


David Weiner

Aside from the mercury and the risk of breaking a bulb, CFL's generate a lot of dirty electricity, as a matter of course, and are harmful to health in this manner. Incandescent bulbs are the way to go.

Rebecca Lee

These toxic bulbs are a sad fact of modern life. They are particularly dangerous if they break when they are hot. That is when you could be exposed to mercury vapor. You are right to treat them with great care.

david m burd

Kim, Consumer "fear" of broken compact fluorescent light bulbs shows how Federal/EPA and Mainstream Media effectively indoctrinates the public. In fact, your 'burnt-out' bulb would have all its mercury oxidized into a micro-solid coating on the glass shards, with no mercury vapor.

In your case, there would be basically no mercury fumes from your bulb; however a new compact bulb, if broken, does warrant some care -- but hardly fear.

Incidentally, trillions of the long tubular fluorescent bulbs have been in the home, office, stores such as grocery where babies have always beeb brought, etc., for over 80 years - long before the last 27 years of the autism/ASD explosion.

On the flip side of the mercury coin, our same Federal Agencies such as CDC, FDA continue to hold their dogmatic position that INJECTING mercury into infants and children via vaccines has always been perfectly safe. It would be funny if it weren't for the monumental carnage so wrought.

Jenny Allan

These toxic light bulbs were supposed to be 'green'. It was all lies. In practice they consume more energy to manufacture and save damn all electricity. Where I live (Scotland) they must be disposed of as toxic waste in a recycling centre.

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