02 Oct 2008:
Compact Fluorescents May
Reduce Mercury Emissions, Study Says
Although they contain small amounts of mercury, compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) can actually reduce net emissions of the toxic heavy metal, a new study
by researchers at Yale University has found. Because incandescent bulbs use four times as much electricity as CFLs, and because coal-fired power plants spew thousands of tons of mercury, switching to compact fluorescents would cut overall mercury pollution in coal-dependent countries such as China and some eastern European nations. If the U.S. switched entirely to compact fluorescent bulbs, it would avoid about 25,000 metric tons of mercury per year, the researchers calculated. Regions that don’t burn coal — such as California — would see an increase in mercury pollution, however, unless they boost recycling of CFLs or find energy-efficient bulbs that are less toxic. “If we want to be truly sustainable, we can’t be dependent on materials that use toxic substances,” said Julie Zimmerman, the study's coauthor.
Yale Environment 360 is
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Yale School of Forestry
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Yale Environment 360
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.