Regional Workshop On Mercury (A Policy Maker Guide To Mercury In Lamps)

Published on: Oct 18th, 2011

Regional Workshop Examines Options to Reduce Mercury in Lighting Products. Large-scale adoption of energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) has the potential to substantially reduce Asia’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, the promotion of CFLs has also heighted concerns over mercury emissions into the environment, as CFLs require minute amounts of mercury to work. To help address this and other concerns, the workshop presented the outcome of a comprehensive international study of mercury sources, pathways, and exposure risks to humans, and participants discussed a range of policy options and approaches to reduce anthropogenic mercury entering the environment, endorsing a recommendation for setting a limit on the allowable level mercury in CFLs. The mercury workshop was organized with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Environment and Oceans and Australia’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

The presentations were made by the following representatives: Mr. Reggie Singh, US Consulate, Sydney made the presentation and stated the following:

  1. CFL uses mercury but in fact reduces use of mercury that is released in atmosphere
  2. US working closely with Australian Govt. on mercury and its impact on environment and society.

Glad to see efforts of ALC and Australian department of climate change Mr. Stuart Jeffcot, Consultant En.lighten made the presentation and stated: CFL Consumption 2019 estimated – Globally – 5000 million pieces – Asia – 2400 million pieces Present – Globally – 3200 million pieces – Asia – 1200 million pieces Million tonnes mercury used in CFL 2019 estimated – Globally – 17 tonne – Asia – 9 tonne Present – Globally – 22 tonne – Asia – 5 tonne Mr. Stuart Jeffcot, US Consulate, Sydney made the presentation and stated: CFL Consumption: 2019 estimated – Globally – 5000 million pieces – Asia – 2400 million pieces Present – Globally – 3200 million pieces -Asia – 1200 million pieces Million tonnes mercury used in CFLs 2019 estimated – Globally – 17 tonne – Asia – 9 tonne Present – Globally – 22 tonne -Asia – 5 tonne Global mercury emission to air 2005 – Volcano have been spewing out so much mercury into atmosphere – Natural mercury emissions – 900 to 2300 tonnes – Anthropogenic mercury emission – 1230 to 2390 tonnes – Re-emission of combination of above 2 – 900 to 2500 tonnes – Total in a year (hg into atmosphere) – 3030 to 7690 tonnes It is wrong to say that when 5mg is inserted, EOL content is less. 5mg is there but it gets mixed with other components of lamp (phosphor, glass, etc.) Professor Brian G. Priestly, Director, Australian Centre for Human Health Risk Assessment (ACHHRA), Monash University made a presentation on mercury in CFLs and its affects to human health.

In his presentation he also highlighted the toxicity of mercury and gave a brief on few studies made by various organisations on CFL – specific exposure and its affects. He also suggested various ways and means of precautions on the breakage of CFL or EOL lamps. He also mentioned that we must work to prepare benchmark of mercury content of CFLs. He recommended that various standards on mercury should be studied and adopted by the Lighting Industry. Mr. My Ton from USAID made a presentation on EOL solutions. He said that there are three kinds of solutions for treating the EOL lamps.

  1. Landfill
  2. Incineration
  3. Recycling

He also gave example of various countries on landfill in Asia Country Simple Controlled Sanitary Landfill China 50% 30% 20% Indonesia 100% Philippines 50% 35% 15% Thailand 67% 1% 32% Vietnam – 100% –