Maine has become the first state in the nation to tackle the problem of mercury in low-energy light bulbs, the Boston Globe reports. A new state law requires manufacturers to reduce the amount of the toxic metal in the bulbs and pay for the cost of safe recycling, a measure expected to add up to a dollar to the cost of each compact fluorescent bulb.
Mercury vapor from broken bulbs can harm babies, children and pregnant women, and the bulbs can pollute the environment if dumped in the trash. "Today almost all of the bulbs are going in the trash, where they can break. People aren't aware of the exposure risk," said one campaigner, who favors wider adoption of the bulbs. Similar bills are pending in Massachusetts and Vermont.