Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Raising Awareness of the Dangers of Mercury Vapor

As fluorescent lamps and CFLs increasingly become businesses and consumers’ primary lighting choice, more states are taking action to address the health and safety issues associated with their use. While fluorescent lamps are considered as a more energy-efficient bulb than traditional incandescent bulbs, these lamps are fragile and, upon breaking, release mercury vapor that can be detrimental to handlers' health—from those involved with handling new bulbs to people involved with storing, packaging and shipping used lamps.

To address the potential dangers of unsafe packaging and transportation of used fluorescent lamps and mercury containing devices, many states are taking a stand to increase awareness by enforcing their own legislation. In March 2010, Washington took the first step in creating a law that requires lights and other mercury-containing devices to be packaged and shipped in material that will minimize the release of mercury into the environment. The law also states that packages should include mercury vapor barrier materials if lamps are transported by the United States postal service or a common carrier or collected via curbside programs and mail-back businesses.

Additional states have addressed this health issue with their own, more specific regulations regarding lamp disposal, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Massachusetts, California, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Florida and Rhode Island. To read about these laws and find out more information regarding state regulations, read our "Additional State Regulations" post.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

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