Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things That Irk Me

Things that currently irk me that I can't control:
  • Light bulbs - The country that invented the incandescent light bulb will soon be without them. The environmentalists have forced laws that will result in their disappearance in the name of "saving energy" starting about 2012. "Although the United States is not phasing out incandescent light bulbs, it has set minimum efficiency standards for lighting which preclude most legacy incandescent designs; these minimum standards phase in between 2012 and 2014." -- WP
The main problem -- the only viable replacement is those stupid looking compact fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury and require a hazmat team to clean up if you break one in your house.  They claim that CFLs will result in less mercury pollution in "the environment" because the main source of mercury emissions is coal burning plants which produce electricity. Use less electricity, produce less mercury emissions.

The flaw here is the same as above: instead of bio-accumulating mercury in fish where I might eat it, I'm bringing it directly into the house where my kids will break it.

That, and fluorescent lighting in general is awful in color, can trigger seizures in certain at-risk groups, and depletes your Vitamin D.  Traditional incandescent light bulbs should remain available until a real energy friendly and non-hazardous replacement can be found. In the meantime, I'm stocking up.

  • Dishwashing soap - More backwards innovation from eco-friendly regulations. All the major producers have removed phosphates from dishwashing soap, and now stuff won't get clean. "Until recently, dishwashing soap contained about 8 percent elemental phosphorus. That's the magic element that "strips food and grease off dirty dishes and breaks down calcium-based stains." It also prevents food from reattaching to the dishes. Or used to. As of July 2010, the nation's detergent manufacturers, bowing to laws regulating phosphorus in 17 states, reconfigured the formula for all dishwashing soap to contain less than 0.5 percent phosphorus." -- source
Now our dishwashers don't clean properly, build up unsightly white films on dishes and washer alike, resulting in double-washing (wasting more resources) or hand-washing (wasting both time and resources), or buying new washers (wasting time, resources, and money).

The salt in the wound? The "problem" this solves is that detergent contributes 2% towards "algae blooms" in water bodies which use up more oxygen for the fish. The big contributor is lawn fertilizer, not detergent.

Anybody know where I can get a wheelbarrow's worth of phosphorus for my dishes? Some people are adding vinegar to try to get rid of the calcium stains. Let me know if that works for you.


Sarah said...

RE: Vinegar in the dishwasher.
I use one cup of vinegar in each load I run in the dishwasher and it seems to be working so far. The real problem is that most peoples water is "hard" and that is what the phosphorus in the dish soap combated. We started having problems with our brand new dishwasher not cleaning the dishes last year and when I made the warranty call this is what they told me.

Nod said...

Thanks for the feedback, Sarah. Does the vinegar have any bad effect on the finish on your flatware?

RAnn said...

Switch to the tablet detergents, rather than the powders, or if you really want to use a powder, go to the hardware store and buy some trisodium PHOSPHATE and add a spoonful to the detergent cup. However, you'll have to soak the dishes in vinegar for a while to get old buildup off

Carol@simple_catholic said...

I am so with you on the light bulbs. I absolute despise florescent lighting to begin with, and being forced to use the stupid new bulbs with mercury (and much more expensive than the incandescent bulbs), annoys me to no end. :/

Kathleen@so much to say said...

I don't like the compact fluorescents either, b/c of hte fluorescent issue. Right now we're about half and half; we have a bunch of halogens in our kitchen and it's a lovely warm look, but we've been putting in CF's one by one since we moved in three years ago, and the last time my husband changed one, we tipped from nice homey to partan and institutional, and I said "Whoa, we can't go any farther down this road." Wasn't even aware of the vitamin D issue. Although I just try to get my kids outside whenever I can.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

We need a revolt.


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