Mercury, God of Death

Most agree more energy-efficient light bulbs can significantly curb air pollution, but fewer people are talking about how to deal with them at the end of their lives.

This troubling quote comes from a recent, sensational article about the dangers of compact fluorescent bulbs. I learned about this poor woman’s plight, and how I may have been led down the garden path in my own desire to do the right thing for the Earth, by Glenn Beck’s radio program.

I like Glenn Beck’s program. I think I would like the man if I knew him. He calls shenanigans on people when they make outrageous claims, and tries to present opposing views. Granted, his views are framed by his own worldview, but so are mine. I respect his desire to make people think, and I am more than happy to take up that challenge.

Glenn used this story recently as a springboard for his road show, “An Inconvenient Tour.” Beck isn’t impressed by the facts presented in support of the global warming theory, and has found quite a few scientists who find the whole thing alarmist. This story about the dangers of mercury in CFLs is a perfect example, he claims, of how rushing to solve a problem we aren’t sure even exists generally causes more harm than good.

So I decided to do more digging, and discovered that there’s more to the story of this lady in Maine than he reported . . . I’m not sure if he failed to research it sufficiently, or just spun it to his own purposes, but either one is a bit disappointing. Apparently he found the story as reported by Steve Milloy, but didn’t discover that he’s known for junk science reporting. Maybe, like me, he was unable to read the original article in the Ellsworth Times (which apparently goes on to say that the claim that a full environmental cleanup was necessary was excessive) because registration is required to read old articles, and confirmation takes some time.

Now I’m not going to get deep into the global warming debate here. However, the graph comparing mercury of CFLs and incandescent bulbs is instructive. If you want less mercury polluting the world, compact fluorescent bulbs are the way to go. If you want to save money by using less energy, CFLs do that as well. Who cares if you believe we are destroying the earth through global warming? Can you get behind less poison and less money spent?

Pharyngula also talks about Mr. Milloy’s hypocrisy on environmental issues, which is in keeping with my own observations on how environmentalists are held to a higher standard regarding caring for the Earth than others. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who is seeing a trend to shoot people down for trying to do the right thing, since it’s a lot easier than feeling guilty about not giving a crap yourself.

So I’m not going to remove any CFLs from my home. I’m also not going to stop listening to Glenn Beck. He challenges me, and I like that. I hope I challenge him, too.


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