Friday, January 23, 2009

Lights out for CFL?

Insurance, which is the primary theme of this blog, is about identifying and managing risk. But it's not the only risk-related subject; sometimes risk is simply about assessing whether or not it's safe to change a lightbulb.
Anyone who's had to change a light bulb recently [ed: quick - how many insurance agents does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: no one knows, we don't mind being kept in the dark] has seen those nifty new "twisty-bulbs," aka Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL). Touted as a substantial energy savers, they're now actively creeping into widespread use.
Of course, our nanny-state gummint-class has mandated that these little marvels must soon replace the familiar "regular" bulb (notwithstanding their potential danger). But are they good for our health?
In addition to toxic mercury, our Neighbors to the North are becoming increasingly concerned that they may also be giving off "potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation." Health Canada (the "department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health") recently studied CFL's to determine whether they pose a radiation risk. Oddly, I couldn't find any mention of this study on the HC website; perhaps it's too new.
But it's not just Canadian authorities in a dither:
It's so bad, in fact, that the Brits are recommending that folks spend no more than an hour a day in their immediate vicinity (the bulb's vicinity, not the Brit's). There's also concern that these little wonders may negatively impact those with lupus.
Stranger still, our own Consumer Product Safety Commission is completely silent on the subject.
Why is that?
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