thecoalman - 5:44 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)
2. Is the energy savings enough to offset the impact of spilling mercury, one of the nastiest substances when the bulbs break? The thought of the spectacle of a team in hazmat suits to clean up a broken light bulb is a bit bizzare.
Mercury evaporates, it's the vapor that is harmful. If you break one ventilate the room and clean it up with duct tape, seal everything in a plastic bag. The EPA recommends using a vacuum after that but not something I would do.
My understanding is there is so little mercury in one of these bulbs that even if you broke everyone it would still offset the amount of mercury that would have been put into the atmosphere producing the power they save. Keep in mind most of these are going to end up safely contained in a landfill. By using them you lowering mercury emissions.
I use them, the only issue I have with them is for outdoor use because I live in a colder climate.