The Skinny on CFLs and Mercury - Oceana USA
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October 30, 2007

The Skinny on CFLs and Mercury

BY: smahan

Despite CFLs being awesome, some have raised a fuss over the fact that they contain mercury. Yes, CFLs contain mercury, but they represent a net reduction in mercury because using less electricity from mercury-emitting coal plants reduces emissions from those sources.For comparison sake, about two CFLs would have to be broken open (so the mercury can escape) to emit the same amount of mercury into the air as is emitted by electricity powering one incandescent bulb. For another comparison, it would take about 300 million CFLs to be broken to equal the amount of mercury emitted from the four mercury-emitting chlorine plants annually.On top of all this, CFLs can be recycled, which reduces the amount of mercury that can escape into the environment even more. Mercury aside, the CFLs should get bonus points for reducing other emissions like carbon dioxide (global warming pollution), NOx and SOx (acid rain contributors) and particulate matter (lung disease aggravator).While I *heart* CFLs, I can’t wait until the mercury-free LED lights become within my financial grasp…I hope this has been enlightening!