Kwik en gezonheidseffecten spaarlampen
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Een Professor/electronica ingenieur over problemen met spaarlampen (compacte fluorescentielampen), o.a. het gevaar van de kwik die erin zit:
CNN: What is the problem with CFLs?
Professor Ron Hui: We support the idea of energy-efficient lamps but we have to tell the public about the consequences. The lifetime of electronic CFLs (eCFLs) is very limited; on average nine months and no more than one year. Many have the misconception that energy saving equals being friendly to the environment. But to be environmentally friendly two factors must go hand in hand. First, we must not pollute the atmosphere; and second we must not pollute the soil and the water. EFLs do save energy, but if the lifetime is, say, 10,000 hours, that's 1.1 years. And every year we throw these products in the garbage bin, so that's hundreds of millions a year.
CNN: Most have the impression CFLs last a long time. But are you saying this is not the case?
Hui: The [eCFL] manufacturer will quote 7,000 to 10,000 hours of usage, but the actual operating time is based on the temperature. [eCFL's] component, the electrolytic capacitor, is highly temperature sensitive and at the moment, the best one has a lifespan of 10,000 hours at a temperature of 105 degrees Celsius (221 degrees Fahrenheit). But in practice, the temperature will be a lot higher and it could go above 130 degrees Celsius. Every 10 degree increase in operating temperature means the lifetime drops by 50 percent. Very often when eCFLs fail, it is the electrolytic capacitor that has failed. The failure rate is high, typically six to nine months, particularly in some regions
CNN: What is the main problem with how we dispose of these CFLs?
Prof. Hui: The problem is, when you open an eCFL, you will see an electronic circuit. On the printed circuit board we have a layer of anti-flame resistant coating made of PBDE -- this is highly toxic and in each lamp we have 3-5 milligrams of mercury. The safe intake of mercury for a human body is a few micrograms. One milligram is 1,000 micrograms. The problem is that eCFL is an integrated product. ... So the whole of it gets thrown away. And for the eCFL, you can't recycle it as you cannot reuse the used circuit board. And if you do recycle the tube, what about the e-waste? No one wants to talk about it.
CNN: Some say that in the absence of recycling schemes landfills [afvalstort] remain an option. Are you saying that is not the case?
Hui: Government departments like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have misleading arguments, like landfills are OK. In many countries, like Hong Kong, the garbage truck will compress the garbage [en route to the landfill]. The lamps will be broken which means the mercury will be transferred all over the city. The Hong Kong government told us that the landfill can handle mercury. I told them the mercury vapor will escape before it gets there. Even if they can safely transport the CFLs [to the landfill], the safety layer has a lifespan of about 100 years. So you are building a time bomb for future generations.
CNN: But don't CFLs cut down on the overall amount of mercury produced compared to incandescent light bulbs?
Hui: Talking about the amount of mercury emitted from power stations is a false argument. With power stations, the contamination is in that area, but now we are talking about bringing that contamination into every home, every street. We may have less mercury in the whole production process than with incandescent light bulbs but the difference with CFLs is that the mercury will be in our homes and in our streets
Een gebroken spaarlamp betekent voor de mensen die wonen of werken in de ruimte waarin de spaarlamp brak, een milieuramp zonder meer. Er komt een enorme hoeveelheid kwik vrij, hetgeen, zeker op lange termijn verregaande gevolgen heeft op o.a. op het zenuwstelsel en het cognitief functioneren (kwik stapelt zich bvb. op in de hersenen en kan zo tot Alzheimer leiden).
Voor nog andere kritische bedenkingen van deze prof bij spaarlampen, zie het volledige artikel op http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/07/27/eco.flourescent/ ('Understanding fluorescent light bulbs')