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Monday, July 9, 2007
AIM Parrots Misleading Fluorescent Bulb Scare Tactics
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A July 5 Accuracy in Media "special report" by Cliff Kincaid and Andy Selepak puts a protectionist twist on scary claims about compact fluorescent light bulbs, claiming that CFL proponents "fail to mention that the bulbs are made in communist China and are potentially hazardous to human health," further attacking General Electric for manufacturing CFLs "in Red China at the expense of American jobs and workers." Suddenly AIM is concerned about American jobs moving overseas?

Kincaid and Selepak went on to claim: "The Washington Times reported on May 3, 2007, that it cost one Maine family $2,004.28 to clean up the toxic mess from just one broken CFL, and that it would 'take 16,667 cubic meters of soil to 'safely' contain all the mercury in a single CFL.' " In fact, the Times article was not a news article but, rather, a column (reproduced at the Fox News website) by conservative activist Steven Milloy that was an attack on CFLs, not the balanced "news" article Kincaid and Selepak suggest it is. Milloy has a habit of spouting debunked claims in order to attack global warming and nuclear radiation concerns.

In repeating the anecdote about the Maine family purportedly facing spending "$2,004.28 to clean up the toxic mess from just one broken CFL," Milloy -- and, thus, Kincaid and Selepak -- fails to tell the whole story. As we documented when WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah peddled similar distortions, the Maine family does not need to spend $2,000 to clean up the spill and, in fact, could easily clean up the broken bulb by hand and open the windows in the room so that mercury vapors could dissipate.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT

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