Monday, June 21, 2010

How Much Mercury Do Fluorescent Lamps Really Contain?

While the amount of mercury used in an individual fluorescent bulb has decreased over the past years, one broken 4-foot fluorescent lamp in a small room or vehicle can release enough mercury vapor to exceed the OSHA mercury exposure 8-hour limit—posing a significant occupational health risk. Plus, mercury vapor can be emitted for weeks after a single bulb is broken.

In their lifetime, fragile fluorescent lamps are handled by manufacturers, transporters, distributors, retailers, consumers and installers, as well as recycling or waste handlers. Although the lamps could break anywhere down this line and expose workers and the environment to hazardous mercury vapors, there are no universally enforced packaging standards designed to protect these people.

While some steps have been taken to encourage safe recycling and disposal of fluorescent lamps, this fact remains: although a variety of containers are marketed for transportation of fluorescent lamps, many don't provide necessary levels of protection against mercury vapor in the occurrence of breakage. Using a proven packaging design with a vapor resistant lining is vital to ensuring the safety of persons who work with or near fluorescent bulbs, as well as for protecting the surrounding environment, especially as fluorescent lighting continues to grow in popularity and practicality. Currently, only one package design, which includes a vapor resistant and zip seal bag, has proven effective in containing mercury vapor.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

No comments:

Post a Comment