Mercury in CFL’s Compact Fluorescent Lamps

CFL Light BulbHave you made the switch to the new energy efficient light bulbs?

I do like the fact that they do save energy and I have found that the new bulbs do last longer than the older conventional light bulbs.

One of the concerns I have is the amount of mercury contained in the bulbs. I did some research and found the following:

“The amount of  mercury in a CFL – Compact Fluorescent Lamp is 4mg.  (Source:  Fact Sheet Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Lamps)  The article compares the level found in light bulbs to mercury thermometers 500 mg and older thermostats: 3,000 mg. It seems like this is a safe amount according to this fact sheet. ”

On the EPA site, mercury is listed as a potential hazard if levels are found that are .002mg/L or higher.

I guess my point here is that mercury is present in the new light bulbs and steps should be taken when disposing or cleaning up spills.

“If a CFL breaks in your home, open nearby windows to disperse any vapor that may escape, carefully sweep up the fragments (do not use your hands)  and wipe the area with a disposable paper towel to remove all glass fragments. Do not use a vacuum.”  Place all fragments in a sealed plastic bag and check out the nearest recycle station near your home or work location.  Check out  I was surprised to see that Lowes and Home Depot offer this service.”  Source: Fact Sheet Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Picture via Nioxxe

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

5 thoughts on “Mercury in CFL’s Compact Fluorescent Lamps

  1. Mercury is not the big issue. The main question is how can we remain healthy using those “green” lights. To achieve this is similar to make a space travel using an old train. Because few consumers on this planet are aware of the (many) dark faces of the “green” lights. Forget the unconstitutional ban in USA, EU and many other countries and remember that the bottom line is the cruel irresponsibility of the governments in any country on the Earth in not informing consumers on the countless dangers in using “green” bulbs.
    1. Mercury is a BIG issue but not the most important.
    2. The emission of radiation that probably causes countless sicknesses – maybe cancer – is not the big issue.
    3. The fact that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released from their plastic parts when the “environmentally-friendly” compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were switched on, including phenol, naphthalene and styrene, is not the main problem.
    4. Forget the geopolitical game on rare earth metals (money and power). China is the champion on it.
    5. Forget the UV radiation, skin problems and probably cancer. This is not the main problem.
    6. The most important factor, that has NOT been understood, is that the mandatory change of bulbs entails a change in the quality of lighting. And this is OUR REAL LIFE. What is certain is that a drastic change of myriads of active electro-biochemical processes in the bodies of all people will be effected, with unknown consequences. It is extremely well documented scientific knowledge that any kind of artificial light often and profoundly affects any living being adversely.
    This is the one and the major disadvantage of CFLs due to the radiation 400-500 nm they emit, known as blue light. This is an extremely dangerous radiation, which cause cancer and suppresses melatonin secretion, giving “craze” signals to pineal gland with countless consequent effects on both the ill and the healthy.
    The frequencies in the range of blue light (and UV radiation) are increasingly a source of concern due to their adverse health effects. Even the SCENIHR, namely the Scientific Committee of the EU, which verified the issue, almost cynically agrees with this, talking about adverse effects on the health of 25,000 people. Nevertheless, citizen unions argue that up to 70,000,000 people will be affected! In reality due to blue light everybody will be negative affected.
    Finally there is an unbelievable fact. The European Commission asked – again – for the second time (2008 and 2010) the SCENIHR “to explore and report (30.11.2011…?) scientific evidence on potential health impacts on the general public”.

  2. Interesting information! – I just looked at it from the mercury standpoint so I am glad you weighed in with other information. Thanks!

  3. As this post states, CFLs do contain mercury, but they are a better solution, both economically and environmentally, than incandescent bulbs. The mercury is not high in quantity, however, it is still important for consumers to realize that they require special handling. The mercury vapor can be detrimental to handlers’ health—from those involved with handling new bulbs to people involved with storing, packaging and shipping used lamps. Mercury vapor, which can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled, can cause neurological damage, and when it gets into water, it can enter the food chain through fish. Read more about the dangers of mercury exposure here:

    If a bulb is broken or burns out, it should be properly cleaned up and recycled—it should not be disposed of in landfills. To reduce the risk for mercury vapor exposure, CFLs and fluorescent lamps should be safely handled, stored and transported to recycling facilities in a package that is proven to effectively contain hazardous mercury vapor. Find out more about how to minimize environmental risks and safely package CFLs here:
    If a bulb breaks, consumers can learn more about clean-up procedures here:

  4. CFL’s are not a green solution by any means.

    They are toxic when mftrd, toxic when used and toxic when they are disposed of by average consumers who do not read the tiny print on the box that says “contains mercury”, “do not dispose of in your regular garbage”.

    And lets face it, when the average person breaks a bulb in their kids bedroom they will just vacuum it up. There are no clear warnings on the box about how to clean up after mercury contamination and what will we see in 5 years when the bulbs that didn’t break end their 5 year lifecycle and everyone throws them in the landfill at the same time. 4mg of mercury per bulb times how many bulbs?

    The sale and promotion of CFLs is simply another greenwashing scam, is not going to save you any money and in fact may cause you more expense.

    How bout if we use some common sense….

    Incandescent bulbs give off a small amount of heat. When you change all your bulbs from heat producing incandescents to CFLs that produce no heat, well your furnace gets to run a little bit longer, so you are not saving any money at all. Then consider the fact that we are all being told to switch to our heating systems to the latest and greatest “so called clean fuel” Natural Gas.

    Well you will start to understand that the switch to CFLs is perfectly consistent with the switch to Natural Gas. Now you will use more heat and pay more for your heat. Perfect for them, sucks for you and your plans for “going green” just went out the window with your wallet.

    All of this is just one more green wash by what we call “domestic terrorists” who suppress real green technologies and then use and abuse the complacent, but trusting public to reap their own financial gain and in this case their gain comes from their toxic energy investment portfolios.

    One of the saddest things in all of this greenwashing is that the “average people” are replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs and switching to Natural Gas because they truly want to show they care about the environment and about the future of mankind and they trust the people they voted for and the big corporate name giants with the fancy ads to be honest, trustworthy and caring… and therein lies the real reason why domestic terrorism thrives. It thrives on a complacent society that has been taught to worship and follow anyone who has power or money rather than think for themselves.

    Solution To Green Lighting? Yes. There are solutions.

    1. Either Keep your incandescents as they were and insulate the heat escaping holes in your home with non toxic insulation (see Roxul for one example) thats a start OR

    2. Even better, insulate and install a couple solar panels, a controller, and battery pack and run some 12 volt wiring into your rooms and install some 12v LED lighting fixtures. Doesn’t take much work, costs very little money upfront and creates a return on your investment over time. As you save money on your power bills you can build up your solar panel system and battery banks, and then as your appliances wear out start replacing them with 12 volt appliances.

    The solutions are out there you just need continue educating yourself and stop depending on so called “professionals” to man the store. They don’t care about anything other than how much they can take from the till before you notice it missing.

    At Brilyn Estates, we sell green products for profit, but mostly we continue to do research and provide education and build new sustainable solutions and work to keep sustainable solutions alive and unsuppressed. We try to make it possible for average people to get the information they need and to be able to afford to purchase sustainable products. You can check out our website at and anyone can buy our products, but if you would like to see unwashed green solutions and products become more available and if you want to continue to get information and education on sustainable solutions then sign up as a member and support our efforts. We can all make our lives greener and healthier if we just keep working on it.

    Written for Educational Information and real thought provocation from Brilyn Estates :)

  5. You make some good points in your post! The purpose of focusing on these topics is to help bring an awareness to people that we need to be more educated about topics like this one so people understand the facts. I like statement you make, “continue educating yourself and stop depending on so called “professionals”…

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