The recent "Light Bulb Debate" article (Readers' Forum Nov. 20) doesn't provide the full compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) story. First, using CFLs actually contributes less mercury to the environment compared to standard incandescent bulbs — a savings of 4.6 mg of mercury per bulb in areas of Utah with coal-fired power.
Second, CFLs are less expensive to buy overall. We had two 13 watt Philips CFLs turned on at the front of our home every night for 13 years before they burned out. That saved us from buying at least 24 incandescent bulbs plus $322 in total electrical cost savings over those 13 years. We could have saved even more if LED lighting technology had been available.
Finally, to clarify from that earlier article, one study suggests that it takes 3.9 times more energy to produce the equivalent number of incandescent bulbs compared to each of our CFL bulbs (including the CFL recycling costs). There is no grand conspiracy here. CFLs and LED-based lighting technologies make sense for America.