Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The End of an Era: Incandescent Light Bulb Factories Closing

The 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress set standards to essentially ban incandescent lights by 2013, requiring households to make the switch to more energy efficient lights. According to recent news, the last major General Electric factory in the United States is closing this month, marking an end to a fixture that has been lighting homes since the 1870s. With incandescents out, fluorescent lamps and CFLs continue to grow in popularity, providing energy and greenhouse gas emission savings.

Many consumers are worried about the mercury levels contained in fluorescent lights and the potential health, safety and environmental issues caused by mercury vapor emitted from broken lamps. However, with proper storage, transportation and disposal, fluorescent lights can be a green and safe lighting solution. According to a recent study by the University of Minnesota, only one package design out of the five tested is effective in containing mercury vapor beyond permissible exposure levels. Find out more about this configuration, which includes a vapor resistant and zip seal bag.

Lisa Brosseau, ScD, CIH
Associate Professor
University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences

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