There always seems to be a flip side to everything. Just when you think you’re doing good by using energy efficient light bulbs, you find out people are dying in China from mercury poisoning and the reopening of mercury mines is killing the environment — again.
Market demand has dramatically increased since the European Directive made these light bulbs compulsory by 2012. If Britain complies with this new law, it will save 5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
In order to meet the demand, factories are opening up everywhere in China. The problem is, some of these factories are nothing more than sweat shops with little or no health and safety standards.
The only recourse seems to be an increasing number of law suits against these Chinese factory owners, but in regions like the province of Guizhou where poverty is so bad, people are willingly returning to work the mercury mines despite the health hazards.
It’s a double-edged sword. Whichever stance you decide to take, remember one thing:
If you break a compact fluorescent lightbulb, clear the room for 15 minutes to avoid inhaling mercury vapour.
Source: Times Online