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firefox slows system

Over the past few weeks, all the tasks on my desktop machine (Debian
Etch, Gnome desktop, typically booted twice daily) have been getting
ever more sluggish.  

I typically keep open several instances of Firefox/Iceweasel.  The
utility "top" showed Firefox consuming most of the CPU cycles, even
after I closed all the Firefox windows.  

After rebooting the machine, I started Epiphany instead of Firefox,
and now it is like having a new, fast computer.  Other tasks
(and specifically, latex) run much faster.

Is there a fix for Firefox, or should I learn to like Epiphany?

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