Sunday, April 24, 2016

LED lighting is really bad for the environment - worse than CFL and here's why

See that? Those are four LED bulbs bought at the same time and made by the same manufacturer. They were bought in Lowes Black Friday sale sometime in the last 6 months. As an experiment to see how good they are, I put them in m'lady's bathroom. Two have failed within six months and we are not even talking heavy usage. Maybe a few minutes at a time - as long as it takes to use the bathroom. Then they are turned off.

This lousy longevity for LED lighting is not new. Many of my readers will remember that about 8 years ago I bought a very expensive LED bulb that was never really used until my stairwell light died. It just lay in a drawer until then. I put it in the stairwell and within a couple of months it was dead.

How many of us use LED flashlights? I know I have 3. I have one that works well and two that barely show a glimmer of light despite fresh batteries.

Now answer this - all these dead LED bulbs and flashlights - where do they end up? Sure, they end up as a white elephant in your closet or desk drawer but then you have a clear out and throw the trash out. These massive quantities of LED bulbs that are supposed to last 10,000 hours of fantasy time but which actually last maybe 12 hours in real time go to the dump as landfill. No part of an LED bulb is recyclable. That is environmentally horrible!

Now let's look at the CFL equivalent. Sure - they sound nice. They use 15% of the power of an incandescent bulb. At what cost though? The other name or the original name for a Compact Fluorescent Lamp is a Mercury Vapor lamp. Yes - that's correct - they contain vaporized mercury. That stuff is nasty! Mercury vapor is highly toxic and mercury remains in your body forever. Remember Minimata Bay in Japan where everybody died of mercury poisoning? By the time you have physical symptoms of mercury poisoning, your teeth will have long since fallen out. Those are the first casualty of mercury poisoning. Sufficient mercury vapor will kill instantly by paralysing your lungs. Each time a mercury vapor lamp breaks, you breathe in some mercury. Even if somebody else breaks a CFL some parts of the vapor could reach you from across the street. They are deadly!

In their infinite "wisdom" politicians have sentenced us to not using incandescent lamps on account of the CO2 that inefficient power stations produce. CO2 is much more environmentally friendly than mercury vapor or electronic waste. By the way, LEDs contain phosphorous - another dangerous chemical. CO2 is absorbed by vegetation and turned into oxygen.

The whole lighting thing is a huge scam. CFL was a sticking plaster the politicians saddled us with in order to protect power stations from cleaning up their acts. Rather than insisting on business cleaning up, they transferred the problem elsewhere and blamed the public for wastefullness. LED lighting is another sticking plaster that doesn't work.

The real solution is just to knock down every polluting power station and insist power companies build clean power stations. It is 100% doable. The problem is that politicians will lose all their backhanders if they govern their sponsors instead of victimizing the public.

This all leaves us with the question as to what on earth we do as people, as photographers etc. For myself, I shall waste no more money on LED lighting. It is just too expensive to buy things that don't last. Over 60% of these allegedly long-lived LED lighting things I have bought and which have hardly had any use have failed on me. CFL is clearly not the answer and I refuse to use such toxic substances. I refuse to have mercury in my home.

It is up to you what you do in your home, in your studio etc. I strongly advise that you carefully remove your CFL bulbs and take them back where you bought them. As far as I know, there is nowhere that you can legally dispose of substances containing mercury. As far as LED lighting, unless you were truly born yesterday, I'd advise avoiding it until the manufacturers put truthful lives on their bulbs. They won't do that though because 12 hours does not impress!

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