Saturday, January 19, 2008

Flourescent Tubes - CFLs and Mercury


Florescent Tubes and Mercury
These things have Gobs of Mercury in them

For years we have taken florescent tubes for granted. There are tens of millions of these things in use and no one ever made a squeek about their safety. In fact, right now, these tubes pose a much greater risk than CFL bulbs.

Tests in the USA have indicated that between 17% and 40% of mercury in broken fluorescent tubes is released to the air during the two-weeks after breakage. One-third of the mercury release occurs during the first 8 hours after breakage. Many fluorescent tubes contain way more mercury than the newer CFL bulbs.

All Florescent Bulbs need Proper Disposal Methods

Older type florescent tubes were found to release somewhere between 3 to 8 mgs of mercury vapors over two weeks. This figure would suggest that some of these older type tubes had up to 20 mgs of mercury in them.

It has been estimated that around 620 million fluorescent tubes are discarded yearly in the USA. These florescent tubes could release approximately 2 to 4 tons of mercury per year. It will be some time yet before CFL bulbs are posing a problem in terms of quantity.


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