Friday, May 11, 2007

CFLs & Mercury: A Small Problem That's Getting Smaller

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) have been getting some flak lately for their mercury content. In truth, the amount of mercury in individual bulbs is not only negligible, but is also about to be greatly reduced. Wal-Mart has announced that it will be cutting the mercury in CFL bulbs sold in its stores by 33%, thanks to a new agreement reached with manufacturers.

To reduce the amount of mercury in its CFLs, Wal-Mart worked closely with manufacturers GE, Royal Philips, Osram Sylvania and Lights of America. All four suppliers committed to achieving a greater reduction in mercury content than the 5 mg standard set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) earlier this year. These suppliers will also adhere to clean production techniques that will minimize mercury pollution from factories manufacturing CFLs.

Even prior to this announcement, switching to CFLs is a good move for the environment. In addition to dramatically reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, CFLs actually reduce the amount of mercury that goes into the environment for many consumers because they eat up less electricity produced by coal fired power plants. Add to that Home Depot's upcoming CFL recycling program in Canada and the future of CFLs as an environmental solution is strong.

More Q & A on CFL's and mercury available at Green Options.

1 comment:

J@ckp1ne said...

I am really glad to hear about this,I have changed most of my bulbs to cfls but I am concerned about the mercury in them.I hope there will soon be recyling programs for them as more peole will be forced to switch and I don't think it is good to just toss them in the trash even if there is only a small amount of mercury.