The Green Living Guy


Are you concerned about the amount of mercury contained in CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps)? As more and more people switch to energy-efficient lighting options. For the question of mercury content has become a topic of concern. CFLs are known to contain small amounts of mercury. All which can be harmful to human health and the environment. However, the good news is that the amount of mercury in CFLs is significantly lower. Especially than what many people believe. In this article, we will explore the true amount of mercury contained in CFLs and why it’s important to dispose of them properly. So, let’s dive into the facts and get a clear understanding of the actual mercury content in CFLs.

While most people do not think about their exposure to mercury when they are buying a light bulb. For these are some major sources of exposure.

mercury cfls amount. Compact fluorescent lighting
CFL lightbulb. Photo courtesy of

The good news?

Ah, CFLs, the beloved energy-efficient lighting option that just keeps on giving. Sure, they may save you a few bucks on your electricity bill. I mean  how did you know they also contain a lovely dose of mercury? That’s right, the same toxic chemical commonly found in thermometers and dental fillings. For it can now be found in your light bulbs. Who needs a hazardous waste disposal program when you can just toss your used CFLs in the regular trash?

But fear not, my fellow eco-warriors. I mean there is hope yet. Enter LED bulbs, the shining beacon of light (pun intended) in the world of energy-efficient lighting. Not only do they use even less energy than CFLs, which we know. However, they also contain absolutely no mercury. That’s right, zero. Zilch. Nada. So go ahead and stock up on those LED bulbs without worrying about any pesky health hazards.

When the CFL Breaks: Not Fun

Of course, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could always stick with your trusty CFLs and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re not contributing to the landfill space shortage or anything like that. Who needs clean air and water when you can have affordable lighting options? Plus, think of all the fun you’ll have explaining to your kids why they can’t touch the broken glass and mercury inside the CFLs. For it’s like a science experiment right in your own home!

LED Instead

All joking aside, it’s important to consider the potential health and environmental impacts of our choices. For that’s even when it comes to something as seemingly innocuous as light bulbs. While CFLs may have their drawbacks, they’re still a better option than traditional incandescent bulbs in terms of energy efficiency. But if you want to take things to the next level, LED bulbs are definitely worth considering. Especially for their unparalleled efficiency and lack of hazardous materials. It’s up to each of us to weigh the pros and cons and make informed decisions about our lighting choices.

Then they consulted the USEPA and contacted a lighting specialist from General Electric (their sponsor) in order to take on the issue of mercury in CFLs.

How does mercury help produce light in CFLs?

CFLs are glass tubes that are filled with argon gas and mercury vapor. When an electric current passes through the tube, the mercury emits ultraviolet light that excites a phosphor coating on the tube. The coating then emits light.

Are we talking about high levels of mercury?

No. And the amount of mercury in CFLs has dropped steadily since they first made inroads into the market 15-20 years ago. As recently as 2007, CFLs contained about 5 milligrams. That’s enough to cover a ballpoint pen tip. Since then, regulations in the European Union. All which have also been adopted in California and other areas. For they have mandated that the amount of mercury in CFLs be limited to 3.5 mg by 2012 and 2.5 mg by 2013.

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