Energy-saving and money-saving bulbs, the compact fluorescent bulbs are not safe to incandescent light bulbs which we used for decades. The fused incandescent bulbs can be thrown to the waste and it is not dangerous to the environment or persons dealing with these wastes. On the other hand, the energy-saving and money-saving compact fluorescent bulbs are not safe for the environment and to humans. The reason is this energy-saving bulb contains mercury, a toxic metal.

Why do the energy-saving bulbs need mercury? Compact fluorescent light bulbs are tubes containing mercury and noble gases, mostly argon. When the bulb is switched on, electrons stream from a tungsten-coated coil. They collide with mercury atoms, exciting their electrons and creating flashes of ultraviolet light. A phosphor coating, mostly composed of metal oxides or phosphates, on the inside of the tube absorbs this light and re-emits it at visible wavelengths. That is why without mercury there are no energy-saving bulbs. The new generation bulb has 5 mg mercury. The first-generation CFL bulbs had 100 mg mercury.

If an energy-saving bulb is broken in a room the whole room will be contaminated with mercury. You cannot clean this room by yourself. You need special companies who decontaminate the whole room that costs you a fortune, around $ 2000. If you cannot afford this, the contaminated room can only be sealed.

If we throw the used bulbs in the garbage the broken bulbs can release mercury. This can contaminate the environment, soil and even the ground water. Persons who collect the garbage or sort them out are also in danger with mercury.

There are already studies that prove the adverse effects of these energy-saving and money-saving bulbs. We must save energy, but not at the cost of our health. These bulbs must be treated as special wastes, collected and recycled. Unfortunately, the available recycling facilities and capacities are not worth to mention.

The industry must produce only safe products. If profit is the only aim then such things happens quickly in the name of energy-saving. The consumers must be careful and the law-makers should not forget their responsibilities.