Thinking Green

Truth About Mercury Contamination from CFL Bulbs

By: Danny Lipford

Many people are upset about the mercury content in compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), but there’s a much greater amount found in fluorescent tubes. In fact the amount of mercury found in the first CFLs could fit on the tip of a pencil, and today’s CFLs have half that amount. Plus, there are a number of very safe and efficient ways of deposing of the bulbs. Watch this video to find out more.

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Kids sure do love a good fairy tale. It’s great for their imaginations and they hold on to every word. But there are a lot of adults out there who also believe in a few myths, especially when it comes to thinking green. Here’s a good example.

There are a lot of people up in arms about the mercury content in compact fluorescent light bulbs. Funny thing is, no one has said much about the greater amount of mercury found in those old fluorescent tubes. And, the truth of the matter is, the amount of mercury in the first CFL’s would fit on the tip of a pencil.

The newer generations of compact fluorescents are even more efficient and have only half the amount of mercury. Plus, there are extremely safe methods for properly disposing of any burnt out or broken CFL’s.

So, before you start “crying wolf,” be sure you put down the fairy tales and get the real facts.



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3 Comments on “Truth About Mercury Contamination from CFL Bulbs”

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  • Karen Says:
    May 26th, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I disagree, the mercury in these is being downplayed. My child broke one and because there are no warnings on the packaging who would know that there is hazmat cleanup instructions and that you need to evacuate the room for a broken lightbulb. The levels measured in the Maine cfl study show that levels above the workplace limits for acute exposure are possible. Yes limits to not be passed for the workplace not for children. The workplace limit is 100,0000 ng/m3 and the cronic exposure limit for a home are 300 ng/m3 (yes I realize that is a chronic limit). California is the only one who has a limit for an acute exposure in the home for children and pregnant women. It is 600 ng/m3 for one hour. The maine cfl study had some levels in the 1000’s for days. Comparing the size of the mercury to the head of a pen to show how small it is has NOTHING to do with the toxicity of something. The proponents of these things lie to you with these comparisons too. Comparing it to a thermometers amount of mercury being 500-3000 mg so it can’t be that bad. But they’ve stopped making mercury thermometers and thermostats because they are too toxic. Also mercury vapor is what is toxic and a thermometer would only evaporate about 50 ug of mercury vapor per hour. A cfl puts many many times this into the air instantly. They also contaminate everything they touch. How can these even be legal without warnings plastered all over them. Please don’t say we’ll there are no warnings on tubes and those have been used for years safely. Well no they haven’t people just didnt know how toxic they actually were. As well, tubes in people’s kitchens are usually covered and tubes are harder to break. Cfls fit in lamps and low places that are easily knocked over or accidentally hit.



  • Axel Claussen Says:
    November 27th, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Are you completely unaware of the stupidity of the majority of our fellow Americans?
    Putting CFL bulbs into the hands and households of everyone in this country means the majority of used bulbs will end up in the trash can and will not be properly disposed of with a plastic bag and driven to your local home depot. Landfills will be full of those nasty little bulbs soon, releasing their wonderful mercury loads into the ground, water, food, our bodies.
    These new law forcing cfls on us is utterly insane, made by insane politicians elected by a large group of their insane peers.



  • Gene Says:
    January 10th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    The problem is not that there is Mercury in the bulbs. Its the gov’t is trying to take away your choice of what you can use. If you don’t like the mercury you shouldn’t be forced to use them. If you want to save money on electricity then use them. I just don’t like the gov’t taking away my choice. I go green to save money on bills. Thanks for your tips and ideas. Getting ready to build a house and will use some of these. Thanks!


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