After closing factories all around the world, global lighting giant Philips announced the early dissolution of its Shenzhen Company. China is world’s largest energy-saving lamps producer and consumer, which means this action signals the end of the fluorescent lighting era.
Energy-saving lamps, also called compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), known for their comparatively high energy efficiency and became an alternative to incandescent lamps. Regarded as a revolutionary product of the lighting industry, it was produced massively and was widely distributed and used all over the world in the early 2000s. Promotion of energy saving lamps can effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions by saving more energy. However, the fact they are not completely eco-friendly is not that well-known.
Fluorescent lamps, such as CFL and metal halide lamps contain mercury, which is a type of heavy metal. The mercury content of a CFL is about 3-46 mg; it varies based on the lamp size and age. Even the relatively new class of low-mercury CFLs, mercury content is still up to 3-4mg. Once the lamp cover is broken, the mercury will be exposed and it will cause great harm to both the environment and any living beings, including humans.
Seniorled is here to share the true stats and facts behind CFL:
Mercury can enter the food chain through soil, water and even the atmosphere. Because it has highest specific gravity, it sinks immediately on making contact with the ground. According to the mercury study of Stanford University, 1 mg of mercury pollution could make 5454.5 liters of drinking water fail the safety standards for drinking. The mercury content of 1 low-mercury CFL is about 5mg, enough to pollute 27.27 tons of drinking water. No such environmental damage comes with top quality LED tubes
After a CFL breaks, the mercury will begin to evaporate into the air, and instantly increase the ambient air mercury concentration to 10-20 mg / cubic meter, resulting in human acute or chronic poisoning. After transferred into the water, the mercury will be consumed by aquatic organisms and generate CH3Hg (MeHg), which can infect fish and eventually enter the human body through the food chain, leading to chronic poisoning. The medical name for this condition is termed Minamata disease.
Patients suffer symptoms such as hand-foot coordination disorders (There may even be walking difficulties), movement disorders, mental retardation, hearing and speech impairment, limb numbness, reduced vision and other diseases. There also can be severe symptoms, including insanity, psychosis, convulsions and death.
According to the China Lighting Association statistics, China’s annual output of fluorescent lamps is ~800 million pieces, and the annual consumption is more than 400 million pieces, with about 12 tons of mercury consumption. While most countries including China do not have a comprehensive recycling system for used mercury products, the production is massive. Because of the high cost of recycling old CFL and no government subsidies available, there are rarely any recycling companies. Only some European countries, the United States and Japan have more stringent recycling mechanisms.
LED lamps from top manufacturers on the other hand are “energy-saving lamps” in the true sense. The following is comparison table of various lamps light efficiency.
|Fluorescent lamp||Energy saving lamp (CFL)||Metal halide lamp||LED (present)|
The light efficiency of all other lamps in the table is impossible to improve, while the luminous efficiency of best LED lights from Seniorled is improving every year. Recently, the 200lm/W LED lights has appeared. Its luminous efficiency is one times higher than the so-called “energy-saving lamps”, while the price continues to decrease, almost same with the energy-saving lamps. Therefore, LED phasing out CFL seems inevitable.
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