Steve Milloy's compact fluorescent & mercury junkscience

Steve Milloy's compact fluorescent & mercury junkscience
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For someone who fights Junk Science, Steve Milloy sure likes to spread… well, the junk science.

Remember the story a while ago about the lady who paid over $2000 to have the mercury cleaned up when she accidently smashed a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL‘s)? If not, here’s the alarmist piece Steve Milloy wrote for Fox News on the matter.

According to most reports on mercury and CFL‘s this lady was most likely a victim of a dubious clean-up crew than she was of mercury poisoning. Energystar reports that the amount of mercury in a CFL is about 100 times less than that found in your average thermometer (pdf).

Here’s the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines for cleaning up a broken CFL:

What to Do if a Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks

Fluorescent light bulbs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:

  1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.

  2. Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a sealed plastic bag.

    1. Use disposable rubber gloves, if available (i.e., do not use bare hands). Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the plastic bag.

    2. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

  3. Place all cleanup materials in a second sealed plastic bag.

    1. Place the first bag in a second sealed plastic bag and put it in the outdoor trash container or in another outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal.
      Note: Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a local recycling center.

    2. Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.

  4. If a fluorescent bulb breaks on a rug or carpet:

    1. First, remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner, following the steps above. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.

    2. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag or vacuum debris in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.

Milloy labels similar procedures as “pretty intense” and adds:

The only step the Maine DEP left off was the final one: Hope that you did a good enough cleanup so that you, your family and pets aren’t poisoned by any mercury inadvertently dispersed or missed.”

Others would disagree with Milloy’ overzealous assessment.

If Milloy’s JunkScience career ever ends maybe he should think about taking over for Joe Rogan on Fear Factor.

Steve Milloy's compact fluorescent & mercury junkscience

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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