NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

1. How fluorescent bulbs turn us into sheeple
2. Where has all the brainpower gone?

bright idea

Fluorescent and compact fluorescent bulbs can reduce intelligence, impair mood, and otherwise damage your life by releasing mercury, a highly neurotoxic chemical. Why, then, did congressional dimbulbs vote to ban incandescent light bulbs, forcing us to substitute fluorescent ones?

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Fluorescent lights performing very poorly in a 35° garage. The new fixture in the foreground with four new bulbs (surrounded by tube guards that help retain heat) has two bulbs that partially light very dimly; the camera makes it appear brighter than it truly is.

The fixture in the background is a few years old, but it (like the one above) worked fine during the warm fall weather. Both fixtures were billed as being able to tolerate sub-freezing weather. Result? A garage that is loaded with 28 fluorescent bulbs but is dangerous to walk in at night during cold weather!

The latter save energy, but that isn't as much of a plus as is commonly believed because the heat emitted by incandescent bulbs reduces the need to burn natural gas or propane for winter heating (see note 1). Compact fluorescent bulbs often die well before their rated lifespan, thus offsetting much or all of their supposed longevity advantage. Fluorescent bulbs are notoriously fragile, difficult to install, perform very poorly in cold locations like garages, and are finicky thanks to ballasts with typical made-in-China quality.

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are even more fragile and expensive, but their price pales in comparison with their astronomical disposal costs. My garbageman is happy to help me properly dispose of fluorescent and compact fluorescent bulbs, but each kit costs $79.95. Think that's pricey? You could spend thousands more on equipment and supplies to optimally deal with broken fluorescent light bulbs. You can wear a hazmat suit and respirator, or you can expose yourself to more mercury and its ill effects. You can dispose of any shoes, clothing, bedding, or carpet exposed to broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, or you can pay a greater price later once mercury gets into your body and lingers for years to give you endless nightmares.

The expense of mercury exposure mushrooms even more if you go to a doctor or hospital to deal with the mercury or the many unpleasant and serious problems it causes.

Needless to say, these expenses come at a time when many Americans can hardly afford to turn on their lights. You might live in a state mandating that all fluorescent bulbs be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Sure, I could take time off work to spend a little quality time riding with my fluorescent bulbs as the broken ones fill my brain with something other than visions of sugarplums—or with gas being as expensive as it is and with me hoping to retain my intellect as long as possible, $79.95 seems like a bargain even though it clearly is not.

Federal guidelines call for evacuating an area after any fluorescent bulb breaks, but that isn't often practical. I've worked in an ER feet away from workers who dropped a fluorescent bulb while changing it. What was I supposed to do? Leave the ER? Bring the patients into the parking lot and tell them to discard their shoes that may have stepped in the broken glass or powder from the bulb? I've seen fluorescent bulbs shattered in stores, none of which evacuated their customers or warned them of the hazard as pregnant women and babies (who are especially susceptible to mercury) strolled feet away. Or what if you're at home cooking dinner when hubby breaks a bulb, or what if one spontaneously breaks? Are you really going to grab all the kids and head outside, or stay put and hope their SAT scores don't drop too much?

We're paying politicians to endanger us?

With politicians giving us nightmarish problems like this, is it any wonder why some people question why we pay our politicians instead of shooting them? :-) Foreign nations have done us less harm than the collective danger of mercury to 300 million Americans, and we retaliated by bombing those countries, not paying them! We've destroyed nations and blasted their leaders, citizens, and babies even before they harmed us, so if the suspicion of possible future harm is sufficient ethical and legal justification to let the hot lead fly, Main Street Americans are awfully slow to respond to the threat imposed from Washington, which is real and present now, not some theoretical maybe it'll happen, and maybe it won't possibility. We're being screwed, once again, by our leaders who seem hell-bent on waging war on us in every possible way.

I've had compact fluorescent bulbs spontaneously break a few months after I installed them with surgical precision in a protected overhead fixture. If they can shatter there, they can shatter anywhere, releasing mercury. Mercury, in turn, can shatter your dreams, possibly preventing you from getting the job you want or being as successful as you'd like. If there is one thing America and Americans need more of right now, it's success, but our politicians are once again doing their best to put roadblocks in our way.

compact fluorescent bulbs cracked spontaneously
Two of the three bulbs cracked months after being carefully installed

According to a Harvard economist, teacher quality significantly affects the lifetime earnings of their students. It thus stands to reason that anything that affects learning and brainpower will also affect future performance, future earnings, and even our collective success as a nation for something as ubiquitous as mercury. Brainpower is our greatest national asset, so anything that impairs it—such as mercury and politicians who increase our exposure to it—is an enemy of the United States. To paraphrase George Bush, they're either with us or against us. In the case of mercury and many other issues, if you think our politicians are doing what is best for us, you need a brain transplant.

Speaking of Bush and the need for a brain transplant, he is the dimwit who signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that effectively banned common incandescent bulbs by mandating energy standards they could not meet. Ergo, Bush is an enemy of the United States.

His motivation? “The bill was driven by a consortium of manufacturers that stand to profit from forcing people to buy more expensive bulbs and fixtures.” Bush said you're either with us or against us, but by siding with big corporations and screwing Main Streeters, Bush showed us what really goes on in his cold heart and small brain.

These well-documented hazards of mercury are serious and not open to debate, nor were they when incandescent bulbs were banned. Thus we have another glaring example of dimwits in the federal government meddling in areas in which their lack of circumspection and recklessness compels them to enact laws that harm us while giving a helping hand to our competitors and enemies around the world. Whose side are our leaders on, anyway?

Our gravest threats come from our politicians, not from our enemies. The federal government has become a malignant cancer. Ultimately, they will do more harm to Americans and America's future than everyone convicted of treason in U.S. history along with Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II, the USSR during the Cold War, and the Islamic terrorists who don't have a prayer of realizing their wacky dreams of making us live on our knees, doing what they command—or else. However, the federal government is doing just that, implementing controls that once would have been unimaginable, and ones that would have made our Founding Fathers fight to the death to remove.

Our enemies never got close to destroying us, but without a miracle, we will fall from being an economic superpower to a banana republic, just as Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) predicted. On August 4th 2009, Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee and the man who Obama initially selected to be Secretary of Commerce, said that “we’re basically on the path to a banana-republic-type of financial situation in this country” within 10 years. “We're going to undermine fundamentally the quality of life for our children by doing this. […] It will be hard for our kids to buy a car, buy a house, or send their kids to college. The standard of living will drop.”

The last thing we need is something that makes us sick, miserable, and reduces our competitive advantage, and mercury is exactly that. So, again, why are we paying those fools in Washington?

The effects of mercury may explain why our government voted to ban safe incandescent light bulbs, thereby forcing us to use fluorescent bulbs in which increased mercury exposure is virtually inevitable, because politicians who regularly slit the throats of Americans need sheeple who are too stupid and passive to resist as our leaders make a mockery of our constitutional rights and innate liberties.

The best practices for dealing with broken fluorescent bulbs (compact or regular) are so impractical that almost no one will follow them. Furthermore, the fragility of fluorescent bulbs guarantees that many of them will shatter in the home or workplace.

What mercury does to your brain and body

A scientist exposed to mercury said that toxic chemical caused him to experience “mental weariness and exhaustion, lack of inclination and inability to perform any, particularly mental, work, and increased need for sleep” but difficulty in getting restful sleep. He also suffered from depression and memory problems. He reported that obstacles seemed insurmountable. Mercury also induced many physical problems that kept him running to doctors.

Mercury can trigger timidity and shyness that makes people more inclined to be withdrawn than socially engaged.

Michael Faraday was one of the most brilliant and productive scientists in history, but after being exposed to mercury he “avoided people for the last third of his life. [...] It makes you shudder to think how, in all likelihood, this rich intellect could have been freed from this suffering, and what gifts he could have given to science if the cause of his illness could have been recognized and remedied.

Mercury can cause nervousness, impaired judgment, mood swings, depression, fatigue, headache, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), tremors, hyperactive tendon reflexes, numbness in fingers and toes, muscle atrophy, muscle and joint pain, hair loss, enlarged thyroid, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, renal (kidney) damage, and a slew of other physical problems. It can make people more irritable and frightened, less tolerant of criticism, overly excitable yet apathetic, and less self-confident in addition to diminishing concentration, memory, and mental performance. As you might logically expect, mercury does less to impair simple mental functions than the complex ones responsible for fresh thinking and brilliant insights, inventions, and breakthroughs that fuel our national success. Long-term exposure may produce Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in people.

This sounds like a near-perfect recipe for creating sheeple too worn out, brainless, and spineless to stand up to the tyrants in Washington DC, thus making mercury a subtle yet highly effective chemical warfare agent to help bring our nation to its knees. Since people aren't fond of bringing highly toxic chemicals into their homes, our leaders have an ideal solution: create laws virtually compelling us to buy light bulbs that do exactly that. Diabolically brilliant!

Ever wonder why our government is so eager for people to get vaccines (many of which contain mercury), yet doesn't utter a peep about vitamin D that can do far more to prevent infections and improve our health in countless other ways? Think about it—our dastardly leaders certainly have!

Read this book and find out how I went from a dunce to a doctor who graduated in the top 1% of my class in medical school.


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Fortunately for politicians on a quest to decimate our economy, but unfortunately for you, mercury is far from the only chemical we face that contributes to us being frazzled, barely able to cope with the myriad demands in our personal and work lives, let alone having enough energy left over to do more than grumble about how our federal leaders are relentlessly revoking our freedoms. Many chemicals in our diet and environment impair sleep and thereby sap the energy we need to fight for our rights. Furthermore, we are also regularly exposed to chemicals that erode our confidence and can-do spirit, replacing it with a can't do resignation. For example, just about everyone accepts the fact that China is an indomitable economic superpower destined to eclipse our success, but this is nonsense. We could easily leave them in the dust, but our once-great flood of major inventions has all but dried up. What was the last great idea? The Internet? That was decades ago. What else?

Our Patent Office is backlogged with patent applications from inventors working for companies who seek to reinvent the wheel with minor tweaks that usually don't amount to a hill of beans. For proof of this, look at the mountain of patents owned by automobile manufacturing companies who, in spite of all those patents, still cannot make vehicles that do more than their competitors.

In the next few years I will release two three major inventions that I could have produced long ago, but I assumed someone else would think of them. Instead, they contented themselves with trivial changes and products that did not significantly improve lives.

Want to get rich? Contact me and invest in my ideas instead of the stock market that will stagnate for years with gains that never surpass the diminishing value of the dollar.

We need more major advances, but we're obviously not getting them. Mercury is not the sole factor for the dwindling supply of American ingenuity, but it has negatively affected our national intelligence and is certain to do even more harm in the coming years thanks to the profusion of fluorescent bulbs.

All of this is perfectly foreseeable. It took a rocket scientist to invent the light bulb but anyone with at least a room-temperature IQ can readily appreciate that fluorescent bulbs inevitably expose people to mercury, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet. With friends like our politicians, who needs enemies?

Fluorescent bulb proponents like to point out that coal-fired power plants release mercury, so using incandescent bulbs that consume more energy causes those facilities to emit more mercury into the environment. (BTW, why are they pushing so hard for electric cars that will use vastly more electric power?) That's true, but they conveniently forget the importance of proximity and location: a pound of mercury released by a power plant hundreds of miles away poses much less of a threat to my health than a few milligrams of mercury in a bulb that might break a few feet away from my nose. Furthermore, fluorescent bulbs take more energy to manufacture and enormously more to properly dispose of, thus negating much of the supposed energy savings.

Yet another drawback to CFLs is that they are not designed to be switched on and off frequently; if they are, their lifespan may be reduced by up to 85%. That makes them much more expensive than they seem to be, and explains why their real-world longevity is often worse than candles. If you circumvent this limitation by leaving the light on, you will burn more energy than incandescent lights. Many fluorescent bulbs also emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation that contributes to premature skin aging, skin cancer, and cataracts. UPDATE: Years after I knew of the UV hazard of fluorescent bulbs, scientists are catching up; see:

  1. Harmful Effects of CFL Bulbs to Skin; Energy-Efficient Bulbs Safest When Placed Behind Additional Glass Cover based on The Effects of UV Emission from CFL Exposure on Human Dermal Fibroblasts and Keratinocytes in Vitro.
  2. Study: Fluorescent Light Bulbs Emit High Levels Of UV Radiation
  3. My article, Like wrinkles? You'll love fluorescent light bulbs!

So let's see what fluorescent lights offer: higher initial cost, typically poor longevity, poor cold weather performance, UV radiation, extreme susceptibility to breakage that releases a highly toxic chemical, and disposal nightmares that manifest how incredibly stupid our government was for banning incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs were a very bright idea, but fluorescent ones are a very dumb idea.

The brilliant creator of this image (Rino Rooter) would like for us to print it out and send it to our Congressmen along with a short letter asking for the repeal of the light bulb ban. Now that's a bright idea!

light bulb ban

Related topics

Like wrinkles? You'll love fluorescent light bulbs!

Notes:

  1. The generally lower cost per BTU to heat your home with natural gas or propane versus electricity is offset by the fact that electric heaters are 100% efficient in turning power into heat while combustion heaters are invariably less efficient and waste energy in ductwork.

    Combustion heaters (furnaces and boilers) also have maintenance expenses and hassles, such as when a freezing home woke me up at 3 AM on a Saturday when the outside temperature was 20 degrees below zero. With no hope of getting a repairman before I and my house turned into ice cubes, and no manual or experience to guide me, I disassembled my furnace, found and fixed the problem, and reassembled it. I had multiple furnace and boiler failures in my other homes, and others I've known had many problems, too. For something so critical, combustion heaters are inexcusably unreliable.
  2. Scientists found that mercury poisoning makes birds act homosexual but were careful to point out that the same effect may not apply in humans. Then again, it may. Animal studies do not always accurately predict human response, but their responses are similar enough to make it worthwhile to study them. Otherwise, most animal studies would be a waste of time and money.
  3. Compact Fluorescent Lighting: Are We Trading Energy Conservation For Toxic Mercury Emissions?
  4. Mercury Vapor Released from Broken Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Can Exceed Safe Exposure Levels for Humans, Study Finds based on Environmental Release of Mercury from Broken Compact Fluorescent Lamps
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Comments (5)

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Comment #174 by Janice Villalba
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August 5 2011 10:35:48 PM

I THOUGHT I WAS GREEN

I thought that these bulbs were helping by using less energy and they promoted that is was "green" good for the planet, now I realize it's not the right thing to buy and use these. We are polluting the planet and our body, brain and even our souls with these! I am not going to buy any more of these; I will stockpile the old bulbs while they still sell them. The government is run by the lobbyist. Look how they outdated all the tube TVs—what is next, are they going to outlaw the toilet paper we use . . . think that's crazy?? So do I but don't put anything past the government if it will line their pockets with money.

Comment #93 by Dialla Ingallis
January 7 2011 11:32:24 AM

Purchased 12 Phillips CFLs: 50% Failed in 6 months, 75% in 9 months, 90% in 1 year

It is true they don't last as advertised. (example in above title).

After pulling all the incandescent from my fixtures and replacing them with CFLs they all failed but one. Now all the incandescent bulbs are back in the fixtures and it has been a year since I switched back.

Real World Use:
CFLs 90% failure in 1 year.
Incandescent 0% failure in 1 year.

The time on the package is a best case. Because the CFLs are so complicated to manufacture and the push to make them cheaper and cheaper, defects creep in that causes them to fail quickly. Also the best case says you turn them on and never turn them off, that isn't how they are used in the real world.

I have noticed with all the CFLs I have tested, that the bigger the wattage the poorer the performance.

If you get really low wattage ones for desk lamps (etc.) they will last a lot longer, but the light will screw up your eyes. I am going back to incandescent bulbs even for these for this reason.

Comment #92 by Anonymous
January 7 2011 11:10:43 AM

Follow the money trail

Banning incandescent bulbs makes no sense. If you follow the money it will probably lead you to why we now have CFL bulbs only. Who is making the most money from CFL bulbs? Did any politicians stand to gain financially from this? No doubt they did.

Comment #91 by Kevin Pezzi, MD • Website: www.ER-doctor.com
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January 7 2011 07:56:30 AM

Compact fluorescent bulbs and EMI

Compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs can indeed cause electromagnetic interference (EMI). I tested one of the few CF lamps I haven't yet discarded, and it emitted strong EMI even when the light was off! Bizarre. As long as it was plugged into the wall, it was flooding the area with EMI. As every electrical engineer knows, it is easily possible to design a lamp that emits no EMI when off.

Now what kind of moronic engineer would design a lamp that emits EMI when off? How about one from China, where this lamp originated? Some research suggests that certain electromagnetic waves can negatively affect brainpower, thus potentially making them a useful adjunct to mercury and poor teachers in keeping the population too dumb to realize how Washington is screwing us in myriad ways. Google "chinese lobbyists" and see what you find.

BTW, I used to be a veritable cheerleader for the federal government, eager to defend it when friends would malign it, but now I view it as an organized crime ring engineered to steal as much of our money as possible while revoking our freedoms. Many of our federal politicians are doing more to help China than us, thus making them traitors -- and us stupid sheeple for letting them get away with murder.

Comment #90 by Anonymous
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January 6 2011 11:56:45 PM

Additional Adverse Effects of CFLs

I've heard that there are additional adverse effects due to electromagnetic radiation from CFLs. What's your take on that?

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