Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Shipping Fluorescent Lamps

A suitable mercury storage or shipping package can effectively contain vapors emitted by broken fluorescent lamps and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), but those vapors can reach dangerously high levels inside of the package. A study by NUCON International, Inc. recently tested mercury vapor levels inside and outside containment packaging and found a need for an adsorbent technology that could capture vapor before it escaped from the inside of the package. NUCON broke 40 fluorescent lamps in a mercury-safe containment bag and measured vapor levels outside of the package for leakage, and inside the bag for vapor concentrations. The tests from outside of the packaging showed the vapor was being contained, with only slight leakage that was well within safety limits. However, results from inside the containment bag yielded extremely high and unsafe vapor readings of 150 to 300 times the OSHA 8-hour personal exposure limit (PEL).

It is important to be aware that while mercury vapor can be contained in specific packages, if that package is perforated or opened, vapor levels could be dangerously high inside the bag and seep out. The need for capturing mercury vapor to prevent seepage can be achieved by including an adsorbent technology in the containment packaging. The NUCON study found that a new, patent-pending adsorbent can reduce vapor levels by nearly 60 percent in 15 minutes, and after 12 hours levels are reduced by over 95 percent. Recently announced at the Air & Waste Management Association’s Conference & Exhibition, this adsorbent technology can capture the mercury vapor in the package, protecting users against dangerously high vapor levels resulting from incidental exposure during the accumulation, storage and transportation of lamps. Additionally, a small consumer-size recycling bag, now available, features this technology and allows people to safely store three to four used lamps at home before taking them to a retailer or municipality that accepts CFLs for recycling.

View a short animated depiction of the adsorption process at http://www.vaporlokproducts.com/capturedemo.

1 comment:

  1. There are so many materials and items that are transported in ways that are so horribly dangerous, like shipping heat lamps that contain mercury. What would happen if someone breathed in the mercury vapor?

    -Gloria Karmanites
    El Salvador Shipping