Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Letter to Al Gore

Dear Mr. Gore,

I am a CFL bulb user. I began purchasing these bulbs at the recommendation of dear, frugal friends who had saved 10’s of dollars by installing them in all their light fixtures. Like them, Mr. Gore, I bought into your notion that CFL bulbs would save on my energy bills and would decrease the nation’s energy consumption as a whole. I convinced my husband to purchase them for every light in our home when our prudent friends - the Pringles (names changed to protect the innocent – but not yours, Mr. Gore) - bought them for their own home. I laughed at the irony (if that’s what it was) when a few months ago I saw the tiny little sign above the CFL bulbs at WalMart informing me that my purchase was contaminating hundreds of landfills throughout the USA. But I have less waste to dispose of with my long-lasting CFL bulbs than, say, the fly-by- night, dime-a-dozen standard GE 60 watters, right, Mr. Al Gore? I continued to buy into your Global Warming fodder that CFLs, along with Obama’s tire gauge, would help to end the energy crisis. The well-intentioned St. Louis ladies of Women’s Voices Raised for Social Injustice, who footed the CFL light bulb bill for hundreds of lower income families in our area, also bought into your ideas. They, too, believed that the energy saved to purchase bulbs we once called “fluorescent” but are now disguised in the energy-saving “green” misnomer of the CFL, would save the world. I don’t suppose, Mr. Gore, that they had read this statement in their genuine yet mistaken good intentions:

…the study found breaking a single bulb can send mercury vapor levels in a room
to over 50 times the level that California considers dangerous and to over
300 times what the EPA has established as a safe level for prolonged exposure.
(found on the internet – you know, the one you invented, at:

Or, Mr. Gore, this bit of information the news media fails to share in between your oh-so wise soundbites:

The small amount of mercury inside a CFL can penetrate carpet and continue to be
emitted at very low levels for a long time. This may continue even after the
initial cleanup. If a CFL breaks on carpeting, consider removing the section of carpet where the breakage occurred, especially if young children or pregnant women frequently use this room. (

Mr. Gore, perhaps your family (with its new houseboat) can afford to replace my brand-new friese carpet in the family room (where we spend all our time). Mine, however, cannot. Besides, sir, that the money I saved in buying these bulbs over the last year was nullified tonite when I purchased a 'disposable' vacuum cleaner to clean the contaminated mess made by one of your beloved (now broken) CFL bulbs. Dare I ask how I might 'double bag' this new (but now poisonous) vacuum cleaner and place it into a glass jar with a metal lid for my local landfill to accept? Or, pray tell, what happens if the glass jar I placed the broken bulb into (as per the Energy Star website's instruction) might break when the trashman throws it into his truck?

Mr. Gore, in future interviews with the liberal media about our use of CFL bulbs, would you please inform the public that we should "consider not using CFLs in playrooms, children’s bedrooms, and other areas where there may be an increased chance of bulb breakage."
( Perhaps the dear members of Women's Voices Raised for Social Injustice should also be informed of this recommendation, as they are handing out CFL bulbs free for single mothers of low-income households. I, for one, had I known the significant risks, with my houseful of small children and pets, I might have reconsidered your wisdom. As should they.
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