Thursday, 07 Jul, 2011 Science

Broken Fluorescent Light Bulbs Leak Hazardous Levels of Mercury


According to a team of researchers, in case you break a fluorescent light bulb, it will release the amount of mercury vapor that significantly exceed safe limits.

Scientists say that the bulbs can release mercury vapor into the air for several weeks and even months. Thus, if such bulb is broken, the amount of liquid mercury will overcome safe human exposure levels.

Scientists carried out a research in which they tested 8 different brands and 4 different voltages. They noticed that the amount of mercury in a lamp can significantly differ from brand to brand. In order to identify the amount of mercury vapor that is actually leaked, the team used a number of standard procedures elaborated by the EPA, as well as an emission monitoring system.

It is worth mentioning that the amount of mercury that leaks from a broken compact fluorescent bulb is lower than the level permitted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is the reason why the lamp is not considered hazardous waste.

At the same time, Yadong Li and Li Jin of Jackson State University state that the total amount of mercury can go beyond this. Due to the fact that people can inhale vapor-phase mercury, it is extremely important to remove broken CFLs as fast as possible and ensure good ventilation.

In addition, researchers say that a more suitable packaging is necessary. They call for packaging that will reduce the risk of breakage and keep mercury vapor from leaking, reports TG Daily.

Powered by

Add your comment:

antispam code