By M. Power |
To my knowledge, no one has yet developed a viable compact fluorescent with zero mercury content. In past issues, we’ve criticized the poor performance and negative environmental impacts of CFLs. They often fail prematurely, and when they break, or get thrown in the trash (rather than recycled by a qualified handler) they release mercury—an extremely dangerous toxin.
A company called Clear Lite www.clear-lite.net
based in Boca Raton, Florida, has developed a product that can mitigate the latter problem, at least until the price of LED bulbs comes down. Their ArmorLite CFL bulb has a flexible silicone layer applied the curled glass. That silicon, says the company, should contain mercury vapor if the glass shatters.
The Maine legislature just approved a law requiring CFL manufacturers to recycle bulbs they make that contain mercury. In Canada, several regions now impose a surcharge for disposal of any device containing mercury, ranging from “$5 for a laptop to $12 for a monitor to $45 for a 46" TV,” according to the Toronto Star.
Mercury in Consumer Products
Sewage sludge 4%
Fluorescent lamps 7%
Dental amalgam 12%
Hospital equipment 14%
Electric switches and gadgets 60%
Source: The Toronto Star