Printed letters, May 12, 2010

New light bulbs have dangerous mercury

Mercury has been shown to be an environmental pollutant by the EPA. The city of Grand Junction was involved in a mercury scare in February, due to detection of methyl mercury in fish species in Juniata Reservoir.

The municipal reservoir was closed to fishing for several days following an investigation and judgment by the city manager. City, state and Colorado Division of Wildlife officials resolved the matter and fishing resumed.

However, people should consider if other sources of mercury contamination exist in their homes, besides fish on a dinner plate. A broken light bulb shouldn’t be an environmental issue.

Today’s new compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, and a more toxic version of mercury at that. Fluorescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) contain mercury vapor. Ultraviolet light is emitted when an electric current is passed through mercury vapor. The ultraviolet rays excite the phosphorous coating on the inside of the light bulb. Light bulbs in tanning beds work similarly, sans phosphorous coating.

Fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75 percent less electricity compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. The amount of mercury in CFLs is very small, about 99 percent less than the amount of mercury in a thermometer.

CFLs and all fluorescent bulbs should be handled with care to avoid breaking the glass and releasing mercury vapor. You might as well be sniffing a line of mercury while lying in a tanning bed.

Not only should caution be taken in handling, but disposal of CFLs becomes another issue. If CFLs are disposed in the Mesa County Landfill, doubtless the mercury will reform into methyl mercury and end up in fish anyway.

In short, I will be using incandescent bulbs until 2014, when Congress pries the last bulb out of my cold, dead hands.



Politics of moderation don’t satisfy this voter

As a delegate to the upcoming Colorado State Convention seeking information, I attended a meeting May 6 put on by the Western Slope Conservative Alliance. The two guest speakers were Republican gubernatorial candidates Dan Maes and Scott McInnis.

Throughout the question-and-answer period, I wished I could make a statement to them, as well as all candidates seeking public office; sentiments I know are shared by a great many people: Personally, I’m not interested in the politics of moderation or capitulation. I’m looking for leaders, strong enough to make the hard choices today, right now, which will lead us out of the socio-economic maelstrom we are currently experiencing.

In the words of Thomas Paine, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

I seek leaders with the intestinal fortitude to make decisions the silent majority support, yet the vocal minority may oppose, having also the spine to stand straight in the face of the adversity of backlash.

I am a veteran, having proudly served this country in the U.S. Marine Corps. I took an oath and signed a check payable to our nation with my own life if necessary. Thankfully, I never had to cash that check.

If the candidates wishing to represent me make it to the office of public service they desire, their actions, rather than words, will show the same willingness to dedicate their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to uphold the rule of law set forth by the Constitution of the United States and the state of Colorado. Anything less will prove them unfit to uphold their duty, and unworthy of my support.


Top listing for Grand Mesa may make less solitude

Regarding The Daily Sentinel’s May 7 editorial, “Wondrous Grand Mesa,” I have one question:  Should our Grand Mesa succeed in being listed as the country’s No. 1 Natural Wonder, do you think it would still be as easy to find “places where you are as likely to see a moose or a black bear as another human?”

I know I’m not the only one whose first reaction to the poll was to ask that question.




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