About the Programs | Fog Testing | Product Stewardship Program | Mercury-Containing Lamps
Safety & Stewardship
Print this Page
Mercury-Containing Lamps

Responsible Mercury- Containing Lamp Use

Position Paper

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 ESTA_Lamp_Stewardship.pdf.