A fluorescent lamp tube is filled with a mix of argon, xenon, neon, or krypton, and mercury vapor. The pressure inside the lamp is around 0.3% of atmospheric pressure.
Are the chemicals in fluorescent lights toxic?
Even though the amount of mercury is relatively small, fluorescent lights must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can cause severe damage to the brain, nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and other vital organs.
What is toxic in fluorescent light bulbs?
Mercury is essential to a fluorescent bulb’s ability to emit light; no other element has proved as efficient. As effective as it is at enabling white light, however, mercury—sometimes called quicksilver—is also highly toxic. It is especially harmful to the brains of both fetuses and children.
Are broken fluorescent bulbs hazardous waste?
All Fluorescent Lamps and Tubes Should Be Recycled or Disposed as Hazardous Waste. All fluorescent lamps and tubes are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded because they contain mercury.
What happens if you break a fluorescent bulb?
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) contain small amounts of mercury. A small percentage of this mercury can be released into the air if the bulbs are broken. Mercury also can be released into the environment if bulbs are not recycled properly. The amount of mercury in a CFL may be up to about 5 milligrams (mg).
Do all fluorescent bulbs contain mercury?
On average, CFLs contain about four milligrams of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. … No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (i.e., not broken) or in use, but mercury vapor and very small beads of mercury can be released when a CFL is broken.
How much mercury is in a fluorescent tube light bulb?
The amount of mercury in a fluorescent lamp varies from 3 to 46 mg, depending on lamp size and age. Newer lamps contain less mercury and the 3–4 mg versions are sold as low-mercury types. A typical 2006-era 4 ft (122 cm) T-12 fluorescent lamp (i.e. F34T12) contains about 5 milligrams of mercury.
Why is mercury in fluorescent light bulbs?
Mercury is an essential element in the operation of fluorescent lighting; it allows the bulbs to be an efficient light source. Because CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, it is important to educate yourself on proper use, recycling and disposal of these products.
Why are fluorescent tubes hazardous?
Fluorescent tubes can be very harmful to the environment, wildlife and even humans. Any variety of fluorescent lighting contains mercury, a highly toxic metal. If incorrectly disposed of, mercury can dissipate into the atmosphere which allows it to contaminate water supplies and wildlife.
Where is the mercury in fluorescent tubes?
Changing the composition of the phosphor powder inside fluorescent tubes changes the spectrum of light produced. Mercury is present in the lamp in both the phosphor powder and in the vapor.
Do LED light bulbs contain mercury?
LEDs use significantly less energy than even CFLs, and do not contain mercury. … And the copper found in some LEDs can pose an environmental threat if it accumulates in rivers and lakes where it can poison aquatic life.
Do T8 bulbs have mercury?
T8 tubes usually use even less mercury, and certainly low-mercury T8s use the least among these tubes. Since fluorescent bulbs do contain mercury and are considered hazardous waste when broken, recycling is highly recommended.
What’s inside a fluorescent tube?
A fluorescent lamp consists of a glass tube filled with a mixture of argon and mercury vapour. Metal electrodes at each end are coated with an alkaline earth oxide that gives off electrons easily. When current flows through the gas between the electrodes, the gas is ionized and emits ultraviolet radiation.