Responsible Mercury- Containing Lamp Use
Letters to Fight Anti-Mercury Lamp Bans
responsible mercury-containing lamp use
Mercury is extremely useful in lamps. In metal-halide lamps and
fluorescent lamps it helps establish and regulate the arc, produces
useful ultra-violet and visible light, and helps make these lamps
produce more light per watt of electricity used than any other type
of lamp. Unfortunately, mercury in the environment can pollute rivers
and streams, make fish unfit to eat, and harm humans.
Model legislation has been proposed to eliminate mercury from
products, to encourage product recycling, and to minimize mercury releases into the air
and water. This model legislation is well intended, but some of the provisions would eliminate the benefits of mercury to the entertainment industry and the environment. ESTA has developed a position paper that offers critiques of these legislative proposals and offers
practical alternatives for achieving the environmental goals while preserving the benefits
of mercury-containing lamps for the entertainment lighting industry and the environment. ESTA also makes available sample letters that can be sent to legislators considering such laws.
Proper waste disposal and recycling are essential for minimizing the hazards of mercury-containing products. It is important to make sure that the lamps you use or sell don't
contribute to mercury pollution in the environment. Disposal of
mercury-containing products in the trash by businesses is illegal
in many states and is not environmentally responsible in any of
them. Spent mercury-containing lamps need to be recycled at their
end-of-life rather than put in the general trash.
Information about recycling is available at http://www.nema.org/lamprecycle/index.html.
The manufacture, sale, and use of mercury-containing lamps should
be managed as part of a product
stewardship program. A model product stewardship program for
mercury-containing lamps is available in the following document