Thursday, February 22, 2007


Wal-Mart... Lower Prices and Mercury Poisoning

In January, Wal-Mart announced it had set a goal of selling 100 million compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) in 2007. Now, nearly two months later, Wal-Mart has not yet adopted a national recycling program to deal with the environmental threat posed by the mercury in CFLs.

Today, Wal-Mart made an another announcement regarding its plan to sell CFLs. In response, and the Center for Environmental Health called on the company to adopt a national recycling program.

If CFLs are not properly discarded, mercury exposure can cause permanent brain and kidney damage, with potential damage to vision, hearing and memory. Also, children are especially sensitive and women exposed during pregnancy have greater risks of bearing children with developmental problems.

Without a national recycling program, Wal-Mart's 100 million CFLs could result in an estimated 227,273 pounds of mercury being released into American homes.

Wal-Mart has also not publicly committed to selling only low mercury fluorescent bulbs. In fact, the fluorescent light bulbs which will be available at Wal-Mart will have a higher mercury content than similar bulbs available elsewhere. Naturally, Wal-Mart's more poisonous bulbs will be cheaper.

By contrast, IKEA committed to sell only low mercury light bulbs in their stores and to create a free recycling program to lessen the environmental risk.

A fact sheet on the serious environmental risks posed by Wal-Mart's fluorescent light bulb initiative is available at

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