Thursday, March 20, 2008

Divine Mercy Novena

Good Friday marks the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena. To participate in it just click here. Read more!

Trying to save a buck or two... well as the environment, with florescent light bulbs? Ever broken one? What about when one burns out - you just toss it right? Think again - those little babies contain mercury - enough for one broken bulb to contaminate a 1000 gallons of water. However if you have one of those older ones - which you may very well , each bulb contains enough mercury to contaminate 6000 gallons of water. If each of my ceiling lamps had one of these jewels in them I would be harboring enough mercury in my home to contaminate roughly eighty-four thousand gallons of water. Multiply that by the 9 million fluorescent bulbs have been purchased in California alone... the amount of mercury lurking in our homes is mind boggling.

AND when Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine accidentally broke a bulb she discovered the hard way how difficult safely cleaning up one of these things can be.

"Manufacturers and the EPA say broken CFLs should be handled carefully and recycled to limit dangerous vapors and the spread of mercury dust. But guidelines for how to do that can be difficult to find, as Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, discovered.

“It was just a wiggly bulb that I reached up to change,” Bridges said. “When the bulb hit the floor, it shattered.”

When Bridges began calling around to local government agencies to find out what to do, “I was shocked to see how uninformed literally everyone I spoke to was,” she said. “Even our own poison control operator didn’t know what to tell me.”

The state eventually referred her to a private cleanup firm, which quoted a $2,000 estimate to contain the mercury. After Bridges complained publicly about her predicament, state officials changed their recommendation: Simply throw it in the trash, they said."

To read the full article CLICK HERE.

According to the EPA this is how we should deal with a broken bulb... There only eleven simple steps to follow:

Before cleanup: Vent the room
1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
2. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Cleanup steps for hard surfaces
3. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
6. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

Cleanup steps for carpeting or rug
3. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
6. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Disposal of cleanup materials
7. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash.
8. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing cleanup materials.
9. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a recycling center.

Future cleaning of carpeting or rug
10. For at least the next few times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming.
11. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

I wish I had known this when of these bombs exploded in my bathroom when one of the children flipped the light switch. A strong burnt smell filled the air and a fine powder covered the bathroom sink and floor. I merely saw it as an inconvenience one must suffer in order to help conserve energy and so help keep the world green while, at the same time, keeping more green in one's wallet.

The EPA likes to point out that the bulbs go a long way to prevent pollution, but in general it is hard to ignore the following evidence:

"All CFLs contain mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause kidney and brain damage.

The amount is tiny — about 5 milligrams, or barely enough to cover the tip of a pen — but that is enough to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels, Stanford University environmental safety researchers found. Even the latest lamps promoted as “low-mercury” can contaminate more than 1,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels." (MSNBC)

As you can well imagine - these bulbs have been permanently crossed off of my shopping list, along with the tuna fish that the FDA recommends we not eat in any large quantity due to the mercury that it contains... Maybe the FDA and the EPA should compare notes?

Read more!

The comedy continues....

Someone "doing their job" decided to supercede our manager's authority and freeze our money - until they hear back from the Canadian branch that this was indeed a real cheque. Unfortunately our manager who has left for his Easter break - is blissfully unaware of this. So if anyone in Canada in the Fraud branch of RBC Centura is reading my blog would you call the Fraud Branch here in NC, and approve our cheque so we can continue on with our lives and maybe be able to celebrate our daughter's 10th birthday this Saturday. She doesn't really want anything extravagant - just barbequed burgers with the family and maybe some art supplies for a gift.

Hugo and I just really don't want the cheques we wrote yesterday to bounce and all of the fun that will come with unraveling that mess.

Prayers gratefully welcomed! Read more!