call us   (888) 423-3191
Get Our Newsletter
(email address)
LED Education
General Led Info
* The True Cost of LED Lighting
* Save money on your utility bill
* The Death of the Light Bulb
* Why is my electricity bill so high?
* Busting Electricity Myths
* Color Rendering Index (CRI)
* Tackling Light Pollution with Outdoor Lights
* Pupil Lumens and their impact on the choice of lighting
* Understanding Color Temperature
* LED versus Traditional Lamps: A fight between unequals
* What is an LED?
* The 2007 USA Energy Bill
* What is the different between ETL and UL Listing?
* US Made Commercial LED lights
* What influences the lifespan of an LED Light?
* What is the IP rating system?
* Lighting Language - Basics
* Lighting Maintenance Factor
* (LED) Technical Terms
* The High Cost of Doing Nothing - Why Wouldn't you Convert to LED?
* The Truth About LED Lumens
Going Green
* Reduce your energy bill using Energy Saving Lights
* How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint
* What you need to know about Alternative Energy Sources
* Save Money with Energy Efficient Lighting
* Why should schools be interested in reducing their energy consumption?
* LED's Role In Slashing Your Electricity Bill
* Light Management Systems - Upgrading the efficiency of Lighting Systems
Induction Lights
* What is induction lighting?
LED Street Lights
* What you need to consider with Street Lights
* The Cost of Street Lights
* Part I - The Complete Guide to LED Street Lights
* Part II - The Complete Guide to LED Street Lights
LED Tube Lights
* The Complete Guide to LED Tube Lights
* LED Tube Lights I - Why LED tubes are a good replacement for fluorescents
* LED Tube Lights II – Mercury from Recycled Fluorescent Tubes
Grow Lights
* Facts about Grow Lights
* Why we need to consider indoor gardening
LED Par Lights
* Understanding PAR Lights
LED Sport Lights
* High Quality LED High Mast Lights And Sport Lights
LED Lights for Business
* Lighting for your Farm and Ranch
* Lighting Strategies for Retail Stores
* Lighting for Commercial Companies Sound Financial Sense and CSR
* The best lighting choice for hospitals
* Energy Efficient lights for Warehouse Applications
* How to Reduce Office Energy Costs
CFL's and Flourescent Lights
* LED vs CFL: An Exhaustive Comparison
* Settling the Mercury Emission Debate

LED Tube Lights II – Mercury from Recycled Fluorescent Tubes

Read part one of this two part series by clicking here!

Recycling fluorescent tubes is a part of the problem

A Swedish study has demonstrated that more mercury is released during the recycling process than in municipal landfills. Typical mercury emission figures from recycling vary between 3-5 %. This was the reason why some companies favored landfills over fluorescent tube recycling. After all, it makes little sense to pay $ 0.4 per tube and still end up causing more mercury pollution.

Perhaps a far bigger problem with recycling is “speculative accumulation”. In New Hampshire, a startup recycling company collected 300,000 spent fluorescent tubes, stockpiling the hazardous waste in anticipation of accumulating enough fees to start recycling operations. This company later closed down without processing a single tube. When such companies fail, the original waste generators may find themselves stranded with the liability of clean up costs.

Mercury mines

Mercury is a finite natural resource. Therefore fluorescent tubes drive up efforts to explore and find more mercury ore. This character makes fluorescent tubes a non-sustainable lighting option.   In several parts of the world, mines that had been closed because they were deemed too hazardous have been reopened to fulfill the demand for mercury for the fluorescent light industry. Worldwide, indigenous communities are bearing the brunt of the global appetite for fluorescent lights.

In California, mercury mines that were closed down decades ago continue to pollute water and land - making fish unsafe for consumption and water unfit for drinking. Experts at EPA estimate that it will take hundreds of years to clean up the mess caused by mercury mines. EPA has already spent $ 40 million and two decades in trying to stem the seepage of mercury into lakes but has not attained success until date. 

No one who values human life can possibly endorse fluorescent lights.

Mercury exposure in factory workers

Most of the world’s fluorescent lights are manufactured in China and other developing countries. The working conditions are suboptimal and the handling of mercury in some of these facilities may be far from what one may call ‘safe’. A May 2009 report in Times reported that 68 out of 72 workers in a fluorescent light factory needed hospitalization to deal with acute mercury poisoning and in another facility 121 out of 123 employees had an unacceptably high level of mercury. 

Mercury release from broken fluorescent tubes

EPA and the Maine Department of Environment Protection (DEP) have assessed the risk of mercury contamination from broken fluorescent lights. The Maine DEP study gives valuable insights about the risks associated with broken fluorescent lights.

The mercury levels from broken fluorescent lights were the highest at 1 foot height. The exposure to mercury would thus be highest for pets and children. Children have higher respiration rates (greater risk of inhalation of mercury) and their developing nervous systems are more susceptible to mercury poisoning.  The Maine DEP study further recommends that homeowners should consider avoiding fluorescent tubes in rooms used by infants, small children and pregnant women.

For other aspects of mercury pollution and to understand how increasing human use of mercury-laced lighting can hurt the environment, please refer our article – “Settling the mercury emission debate.”

Scientific evidence outlined above and in “LED Tube Lights I” demonstrates that LED tube lights are a green, high ROI, quick payback replacement option for fluorescent tube lights.

Find it Contact Us
Privacy Policy
Terms Of Use
About Us
Customer Service
Resources Energy Savings Calculator
Educational Articles
Installation Photos
Press Releases
Federal Set Aside Purchases
LED White Papers

Social Media Facebook Twitter PInterest Our Blog Tumblr
Energy Partners Efficiency Maine  Energy Optimization Michigan
Kentucky Power
1 Chestnut Street, Suite 4M
Nashua, NH 03060
(888) 423-3191
LED Retrofit Kits For Metal Halide Fixtures
LED High Bay Retrofit Bulbs
LED High Bay Lights - Warehouse LED Lighting Fixtures
LED High Mast - LED Stadium Lights
LED Explosion Proof
USA Flag Any product listed on this site with the American Flag is a USA assembled product that may contain some non-USA made components.
FooterLeft FooterRight
Copyright © 2008-2017 owned by DRK Enterprises LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Plagiarism Warning