RUSH: Stephen Malloy, the Washington Times, ‘How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent lightbulb?’ By the way, they got me a hotel suite yesterday because I had to change clothes after the two meetings and so forth, and I had about a half hour in there, and I walked in, and the light switches, they were weird. They functioned but they turned the lights on in different rooms. I couldn’t figure it out, I didn’t have time to figure it out, and none of the lamps were on the switches. So it’s dark, moderately dark, I’m walking in the room and I’m trying to find a switch on this lamp by the bedside. I’m feeling around, can’t feel the switch, so I searched a power cord, maybe the switch was on that. Ah, I’m going to have to look down to the lamp. Looked over the shade and damned if there wasn’t a compact fluorescent bulb in there. I thought about unscrewing the thing, just leaving it there as a calling card.
I finally found a switch. It was on the base of the lamp. So I turned it on. Wasn’t any big-time major light that came out of that, certainly wasn’t enough. Now, I know some of you sell them, and I’m not trying to run them down. You want to buy a compact fluorescent, you go right ahead. Just don’t tell me you’re saving the planet when you do it because you’re not. Now back to this story. ‘How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent lightbulb? About $4.28 for the bulb and labor — unless you break the bulb. Then you — like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine — could be looking at a cost of about $2,004.28, which doesn’t include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health. Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent lightbulb in favor of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) — a move already either adopted or being considered in California, Canada, European Union and Australia. According to an April 12 article in the Ellsworth American, Mrs. Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter’s bedroom — it dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor. Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Mrs. Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her the CFL contained mercury and she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn, directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP sent a specialist to Mrs. Bridges’ house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of 6 times the state’s ‘safe’ level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter. The DEP specialist recommended Mrs. Bridges call an environmental clean-up firm.’
Now, look at this. She breaks a bulb and she’s gotta call four government agencies plus Home Depot. This is exactly what liberals want to happen, by the way. They want you to have to call a bureaucracy every time you do anything, is where they’re headed. So anyway, Brandi Bridges calls the environmental clean up firm, ‘gave her a ‘low-ball’ estimate of $2,000 to clean up the room. The room was then sealed-off with plastic and Mrs. Bridges began ‘gathering finances’ to pay for the $2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn’t cover the clean-up costs because mercury is a pollutant,’ and they don’t insure pollutants. ‘Given that replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs in the average U.S. household is touted as saving as much as $180 annually in energy costs — and assuming Mrs. Bridges doesn’t break any more CFLs — it will take her more than 11 years to recoup the clean-up costs in the form of energy savings.’ Eleven years!
‘Even if you don’t go for the full-scale panic of the $2,000-clean-up, the do-it-yourself approach is still somewhat intense, if not downright alarming. Consider the procedure offered by the Maine DEP’s Web page entitled, ‘What if I accidentally break a fluorescent bulb in my home?’ Don’t vacuum bulb debris because a standard vacuum will spread mercury-containing dust throughout the area and contaminate the vacuum. Ventilate the area and reduce the temperature.’ But you can’t do that if you have to lower the thermostat so much because you’re really making a carbon footprint. ‘Wear protective equipment like goggles, coveralls and a dust mask. Collect the waste material into an airtight container.’ This is the sixth thing you do. ‘Pat the area with the sticky side of tape. Wipe with a damp cloth. Finally, check with local authorities,’ see, you gotta call them out anyway. You gotta call a seventh agency. You gotta call the haz-mat people to see if you’ve done it right. This is if you choose not to spend the two grand to have the haz-mat people come out in the first place. Now, we all break lightbulbs. You know, these things happen, folks. They just happen. You have been warned here. You’ve been warned.