William K.
User Rank
Microgram madness, or monstrous metallic mercury
William K.   5/3/2013 11:53:48 PM
So, what is the concentration of mercury vapor in ten cubic feet of air near where a single CFL device has been broken ? and where in the lamps does this 3 micrograms reside in the lamp, and why would it be in a vapor form at normal room temperatures? My observation of the broken lamps that I have seen is that there are quite large chunks and a few small slivers. I know that the slivers can be nasty and sharp, but clearly most of the white stuff is still in the glass. So where does all of this huge cloud of mercury vapor come from?

OF course it is best to avoid breaking the lamps, but this writeup seems to be intent on arousing hysteria and fomenting panic. If we went back to using candels for light the big hazard would be setting fires, which are probably a lot more dangerous.

I am not advocating stupidity, and I would never allow children to play with broken lights, but the whole tone of the article seems inappropriate for an intellectual publication such as Design News.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Re: Mercury replacement
Cabe Atwell   5/3/2013 3:24:16 PM
I'm with TJ on this, time to go LED. There are plenty of LED solutions much brighter than FL and CFL is the same size category.

However, I wish I had this tech when I watched one of my ceiling CFLs spark and expel fumes for a few minutes.


User Rank
Mercury replacement
AnandY   5/3/2013 7:41:14 AM
It is considered a persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemical as it does not degrade in the environment.

Todd, thanks for this informative post. Till now I thought glass pieces of broken bulb are dangerous, but mercury inside it is so dangerous. Can this mercury be replaced by any other material?

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Why is it still there?
TJ McDermott   5/2/2013 11:05:56 PM
I must have been exposed to too much mercury because I cannot understand why these HAZMAT hand grenades have been mandated into our houses and workplaces.

Lead was legislated out of paint long ago.  So were volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which made paint spread much better.

This article addresses the handling after the fact.  Why not instead legislate a bulb that isn't a HAZMAT Hand Grenade?  Skip this crap and instead force us to LED bulbs?


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
The cost of absorbing mercury
Rob Spiegel   5/2/2013 12:33:50 PM
Interesting story, Todd. I would guess the packing that absorbs mercury costs quite a bit more than traditional packaging. I wonder whether this will affect its use. Unless there is a government mandate, it could be this packaging will not be widely utilized.

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