My mother was right: Too much TV is bad for us

[Another post by Ken Levenson.]

I’ve always known from a young age that watching TV wasn’t good for me — I can hear my mother now — but this is getting completely out of hand.

As reported by Ian Sample in The Guardian:

The rising demand for flat-screen televisions could have a greater impact on global warming than the world’s largest coal-fired power stations, a leading environmental scientist warned yesterday.

Nitrogen trifluoride or NF3 is a greenhouse gas, and it’s used in the manufacture of our flat screen televisions — 4,000 tons of it now annually and projected to double in the next year. Granted the amounts are relatively minuscule but NF3 is not to be trifled with:


In “NF3, the greenhouse gas missing from Kyoto” published in GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, Michael J. Prather and Juno Hsu make the case for its importance and argue for greater monitoring to determine what’s really happening.

How bad could this nitrogen trifluoride be? I mean methane is a whopping 21 times worse than CO2. Worse than methane?

…nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide…

Wow, that’s bad. But I bet it disintegrates in the atmosphere faster than methane then, right? It can’t possibly hang around for hundreds of years like CO2.

… [it] remains in the atmosphere for 550 years…

Gulp. Well then, since it’s so incredibly dangerous, it must be tightly regulated.

Unlike common greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), emissions of the gas are not restricted by the Kyoto protocol or similar agreements.

I’ve bought my last TV.