Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Governmental Light Bulb Clean Up

Basically, the government has decided that it knows what light bulbs are best for the public to use. Therefore, the regular light bulbs that we've all grown to know and love since the days of Thomas Edison are out and those damn curly, swirly CFL bulbs are in. That's right. Sometime in 2012, you will no longer be able to choose which light bulb you want to use. This in the "Land of the Free". I understand that the new ones will save you a minimal amount of money over the course of the bulb. I also understand that I am the one who pays my electric bill. And as long as I pay for it, why does the government get to tell me which bulb to use? Besides, I hate the light that comes off of those swirly things. It's too fluorescent for me. It's a very harsh light. I'm a rather delicate flower in some areas and the light in my home that I bathe myself in is just one of those areas.

Another thing that you're going to say goodbye to? Cleaning up a broken light bulb without having to follow a series of directions that spans over four pages and requires just about everything except a Hazmat suit (and I'm sure that one would actually be preferred). I'm not kidding. What we have here is a document that appears to be put out by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and is entitled: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs What To Do If A Bulb Breaks Wait. What now?

I would have thought that the answer would have simply been "Sweep it up". Oh, no. No, no, no. That's the old way of doing things. The new way is much different. And of course, different is better. And since this is the ONLY choice for a light bulb that you're going to have pretty soon, I suggest you pay attention. You're going to need the following:

• Disposable gloves
• Flashlight
• Duct tape or other sticky tape
• 2 index cards or stiff pieces of paper
• Zip-lock bags
• Damp paper towels or rags
• Portable window fan (optional)

That's right. Six items. Or seven if you're going to utilize the option of breaking out your portable window fan. But don't worry. Considering that you're supposed to leave the area that the bulb is broken in for at least fifteen minutes, you'll have plenty of time to gather your supplies. And before you do any of that, make sure that you "Turn off forced hot air heat, central air conditioners, and fans." And "Open windows to allow fresh air in." Oh, but don't do any of this if you're pregnant. If you're pregnant, you are specifically instructed to not do it and to find someone else to do it for you. You're also supposed to keep infants, small children, women who are pregnant and pets out of the room...if you've broken a light bulb.

In cleaning up of the shattered bulb, you are not allowed to vacuum or sweep and for heaven's sake, don't use a metal dust pan. (They don't give any reason for not using the metal dust pan, but I suspect that spontaneous combustion is involved.) No, you're supposed to pick up the big pieces with your gloved hands and then use the index cards to sort of scoop the other pieces into piles and then you use the sticky tape to pick up those pieces. Shove all of that into a ziploc bag when you're done and seal the crap outta that sucker, lest you succumb to...something.

Once you're done with that, you're supposed to pat the area down with the damp paper towels or rags and then seal those and the gloves in another ziploc bag and put them both " an outdoor trashcan immediately" as "Getting the waste out of the house right away is an important safety step." And even though you've been all safe up to this point, it's also imperative that you "Wash your hands and face after the waste has been removed from the house." Also, Continue to ventilate the room for as long as possible (at least several hours)." That's right. Hours. (Hey, it helps exhaust the "dirty air' out of the building!) I don't know about where you are, but winter gets a little chilly around here. I'm not so sure that I want to ventilate my room for several hours in the middle of winter. Sooooo, try to only break bulbs during the warm weather months.

That's just the cleanup for hard surfaces. For rugs or area rugs, there is a whole different set of instructions which span a couple of pages. And one of the things that they mention is that if you break one of these CFL bulbs on an area rug is to consider disposing of the entire rug! Oh, and after all of this is cleaned up and you've changed out of your Hazmat suit, remember that "...pregnant women and young children should stay out of a room where a CFL has broken until several days after the clean-up." Several DAYS?! What in the world is IN these things?! I'm really not thrilled about having this toxic item in my home when my regular bulbs (the ones that I pay for and that I pay for the energy that they use) work just FINE! I am going on a regular light bulb shopping expedition in the coming days as I stock up on enough regular bulbs to last me for the rest of my life. Which, if they keep coming up with asinine restrictions on items that I can and cannot use in my own home, is going to be in the very near future.

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