Lighting Understanding for a More Efficient Nation

Do CFLs contain unsafe amounts of mercury?

Do CFLs contain unsafe amounts of mercury?

Question:

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

 

Answer:

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.