Lighting Understanding for a More Efficient Nation

Do CFLs contain unsafe amounts of mercury?

Do CFLs contain unsafe amounts of mercury?


Does the Standard Increase the Amount of Mercury in the US because of CFLs?



There is only a very small amount of mercury in CFLs and absolutely no mercury release when a bulb is intact.

Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that ten times as much mercury will be emitted by the coal-fired power plants that make the extra electricity needed for an inefficient incandescent bulb than would escape from a CFL in a landfill.  There’s just a tiny fraction of human-caused mercury emissions from CFLs – about 0.1%.

Consumers Union even says, “CFLs save between two and ten times more mercury from the environment than is used in the bulb- their efficiency avoids mercury pollution that would otherwise be emitted from coal-fired power plants.”

However, despite the small amounts of mercury, in the rare cases of CFL breakage it is necessary to clean up carefully. Read about the clean-up process here.