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GLRPPR Sector Resource: Shedding Light on Mercury Risks from CFL Breakage

Title:
Shedding Light on Mercury Risks from CFL Breakage

Abstract:
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are important energy savers and are being widely substituted for less efficient incandescent light bulbs. But CFLs also contain small amounts of elemental mercury. Much of this mercury is released when a CFL is broken. Several studies of mercury releases from broken fluorescent bulbs suggest that, under certain conditions, CFL breakage can pose a health risk, especially to an infant or young child who spends time near the site of the breakage. While this risk raises valid public health concerns, there is no reason for consumers either to avoid using CFLs or to panic if one is broken. However, parents should consider avoiding using CFLs in situations where breakage is likely, especially in infants or toddlers rooms. To prevent breakage and to increase recycling of CFLs at the end of their useful life, consumers need more and better information about risks posed by broken lamps, clear and consistent instruction on safe clean-up and disposal of a broken CFL, and guidance to help find energy efficient light bulbs with minimal mercury content.

URL:
http://www.mpp.cclearn.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/final_shedding_light_all.pdf

Source:
Mercury Policy Project

Resource Type:
Article/report

Date of Publication:
February 2008

Associated Sectors:

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).

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