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The energy-savings benefits of compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are great – 75 percent compared to traditional light by one source – but Vermont became the first state to ban the sale of the lamps.
The political website The Hill reported that the ban takes effect on February 17, one year after Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the restriction of “screw-based mercury containing compact fluorescent lamps.” Retailers were given a year to remove inventory.
In banning the CFLs, the DEC endorsed the use of LEDs, issuing a notice that reads, “screw-based LEDs provide the same or better overall performance at a cost equal to or better than that of a mercury-containing screw based compact fluorescent lamp (CFL).”
CFLs contain about 4 milligrams of mercury per bulb, deeming them an environmental and health risk, according to the DEC. They can release harmful vapors if crushed or broken, so the DEC says all older CFLs should be brought to collection sites or recycling centers instead of thrown into the trash.
Areas affected by broken CFL lamps should be cleared, doors and windows opened, and interior vents closed for 15 minutes before cleaning up.
Exposure to the mercury vapors can cause health issues like lung damage, neurological issues and kidney functions.
Dave Lubach is managing editor of the Facilities Market.
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