October 11, 2013
The chickens are coming home to roost for the fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulb industries as the toxic consequences of the mercury contained in these bulbs increasingly rears its ugly head all across the American landscape. This time, the mercury-laden residue of thousands of crushed fluorescent and CFL bulbs was discovered on an empty lot and in a children’s playground in a neighborhood in South Dallas, according to The Dallas Morning News, and authorities are still unsure of their source.
On October 3, the Peary Play Lot at 2800 Peary Avenue in Dallas, Texas, and an empty lot across the street were both found to be littered with the smashed remains of thousands of fluorescent and CFL bulbs. Reports indicate that the toxic shards were dumped sometime in the evening, and were later discovered by the parks and recreation service, local police, storm water management, the environmental quality office and local fire-rescue, all of whom were called on the scene to investigate.
According to ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas, a professional remediation team had to be called out to the two sites to clean the lot and test for mercury. Officials have warned the local community to be on the lookout for mercury poisoning symptoms, which include persistent vomiting, breathing difficulties, coughing, swollen gums and lightheadedness. Local city marshals and other agencies are also working to proactively identify any individuals who may have been exposed and are now in need of medical care.
“It’s very important for me for the City of Dallas to do a cleanup in this area because our kids go to this park,” said local resident Nakea Noble to CBS Dallas / Fort Worth. Noble’s sister and niece live near the sites where the bulbs were dumped, and Noble says her sister is already having an allergic reaction. “Although I don’t live over here, my niece is here, so it’s very important to me.”
The city is also offering mercury screenings to the public at four local clinics, which are posted in the source articles below. Any resident who believes he or she has been poisoned by the discarded bulbs is encouraged to receive an evaluation, as mercury poisoning is extremely serious and can lead to long-term health problems including neurological and gastrointestinal damage, renal failure, and death.
Mercury-laden CFL bulbs are a ticking time bomb
The fact that 1,000 illegally dumped CFL light bulbs has created such an uproar says a lot about the true toxicity of mercury. And yet CFL bulbs are still being fraudulently marketed as some kind of panacea for cleaning up the environment and stopping global warming. Nothing could be further from the truth, and with millions of CFL bulbs now installed and in use in homes and businesses across America, it is only a matter of time before the situation becomes a whole lot worse on a massive scale.
You see, most people with fluorescent and CFL bulbs in their homes do not know how to “properly” dispose of them — that is, to contact the local trash service or government utility and schedule a special pickup. The vast majority of people simply throw their used CFL bulbs into the regular trash, where they are crushed and dumped into the local landfill — that is if the toxic bulbs even make it into the trash in one piece.
“The problem with the bulbs is that they’ll break before they get to the landfill,” explained John Skinner, executive director of the Solid Waste Association of North America, to NPR back in 2007 when CFLs were becoming more widely available. “They’ll break in containers, or they’ll break in a dumpster or they’ll break in the trucks. Workers may be exposed to very high levels of mercury when that happens.”
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This article was posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 at 11:02 am