Lighting Up With EWG
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has given us a nifty New Year’s gift, the Green Lighting Guide, highlighting the best compact fluorescent bulbs. Criteria include mercury content and average life span. There are also safe clean-up tips in case of breakage and, best of all, a list of the top brands with info on where to buy them.
EWG, a nonprofit organization founded in 1993, advocates for health related protections and works to produce changes in public policy. Surprisingly its most recent challenge is to Energy Star. As stated in a letter to be sent to the agency, when purchasing light bulbs with the Energy Star logo, we expect to buy the best of the best. Energy Star-rated CFL bulbs are not as low in mercury content as they could be. In fact, under pressure from the industry, Energy Star adopted mercury content levels that will be obsolete when they take effect in July.
This is disappointing. Quoting from the letter, “Energy Star should lead, not follow: the program should lower its mercury cap by half. Also, it’s not enough to require bulb manufacturers to disclose that their products contain mercury. Energy Star should require them to label each bulb with a precise mercury content so that consumers can make fully informed choices.” Read the entire letter and add your signature.
EWG is a terrific resource for more than light bulbs. Worried about the safety of your cosmetics and personal care products? Look them up on EWG’s database of more than 41,000 products. Warning! Some of your favorites are going to score at the moderate to high hazard level. Sorry.