Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fluorescent Lamp Transportation Regulation

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) provides packaging standards for the transportation of fluorescent lamps (referred to in the regulations as “mercury vapor tubes”). Those regulations require that shipments of lamps be contained in packaging that prevents the escape of mercury.

However, those DOT packaging requirements will rarely, if ever, apply to packages of used mercury-containing lamps. Based on the rules and the mercury content of used lamps, the DOT standards only apply to packages containing more than 250 typical CFLs or low mercury fluorescent lamps or 100–200 other types of fluorescent lamps. Most used lamps are transported in far smaller containers. Yet even a single broken lamp can emit mercury vapor beyond permissible exposure levels.

One broken 48-inch fluorescent lamp in a small room or vehicle can release enough mercury vapor to exceed the Federal OSHA PEL. This indicate that emissions from packages not designed to contain mercury vapor represent a real health and safety concern to those involved in its storage, transport and disposal, as well as a legal hazard for any businesses that do not adhere to these stipulations.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

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