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State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint House Resolution

J.R.H.  38

Joint resolution relating to the safety of compact fluorescent light bulbs

By Representatives Komline of Dorset, Krawczyk of Bennington, Livingston of Manchester and Rodgers of Glover

Whereas, compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, a neurotoxin, and

Whereas, mercury and mercury compounds are highly toxic to humans and are particularly dangerous for children and fetuses, ecosystems, and wildlife, and

Whereas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concedes that not enough has been done by manufacturers and the government to urge people to recycle CFL bulbs and to make it easier for them to do so, and

Whereas, although disposing of CFL bulbs in the trash is illegal in some states, most people still throw them out, and

Whereas, experts agree that it is not easy for the public to recycle these bulbs because individuals have to recycle them on a hazardous-waste collection day or at a special facility, and

Whereas, speaking on National Public Radio, John Skinner, the executive director of the Solid Waste Association of North America, stated that “the problem with the bulbs is that they’ll break before they get to the landfill.  They’ll break in containers, or they’ll break in a dumpster or they’ll break in the trucks.  Workers may be exposed to very high levels of mercury when that happens,” and

Whereas, a broken bulb in one’s home can end up costing a substantial amount of money to clean up or, even worse, can expose a family to continued exposure if a vacuum cleaner is used to clear away the bulb’s contents, and

Whereas, Efficiency Vermont is supporting and financing campaigns across the state to promote the use of CFL bulbs and has subsidized the sale of 40,000 of these bulbs to the town of Manchester alone, and

Whereas, Efficiency Vermont is not informing Vermonters about the potential risks of these bulbs, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly requests Efficiency Vermont to conduct a statewide public information campaign to educate the public about the potential health hazards from mercury in the event of breakage of CFL bulbs and about proper clean-up methods, including how to clean exposed carpeting, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly requests each solid waste district in the state to conduct a thorough investigation and report to the general assembly on or before January 15, 2008 to confirm that CFL bulbs are being disposed of properly, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly requests the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to commence a rulemaking procedure requiring CFL bulbs’ retail packaging to contain appropriate health warnings and information on the proper clean-up and disposal of these bulbs, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly requests Efficiency Vermont to provide, until such time as safety labeling appears on CFL bulb packaging, the distributors of these bulbs with a consumer information handout that includes a prominent warning alerting consumers of the potential health hazard from mercury if a CFL bulb should break, instructions for the safe clean-up and disposal of CFL bulbs, and contact information for the appropriate state authorities for individuals to contact if proper clean-up methods cannot be implemented, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Nancy Nord, acting chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, to Efficiency Vermont, and to each solid waste district.



____________________________              Attested to:

Gaye R. Symington

Speaker of the House


____________________________              ____________________________

Brian E. Dubie                                             Donald G. Milne

President of the Senate                               Clerk, House of Representatives



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont