alexa Mercury risk from fluorescent lamps in China: current status and future perspective.


Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education

Author(s): Hu Y, Cheng H

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Abstract Energy-efficient lighting is one of the key measures for addressing electric power shortages and climate change mitigation, and fluorescent lamps are expected to dominate the lighting market in China over the next several years. This review presents an overview on the emissions and risk of mercury from fluorescent lamps during production and disposal, and discusses measures for reducing the mercury risk through solid waste management and source reduction. Fluorescent lamps produced in China used to contain relatively large amounts of mercury (up to 40 mg per lamp) due to the prevalence of liquid mercury dosing, which also released significant amounts of mercury to the environment. Upgrade of the mercury dosing technologies and manufacturing facilities had significantly reduced the mercury contents in fluorescent lamps, with most of them containing less than 10 or 5mg per lamp now. Occupational hygiene studies showed that mercury emissions occurred during fluorescent lamp production, particularly in the facilities using liquid mercury dosing, which polluted the environmental media at and surrounding the production sites and posed chronic health risk to the workers by causing neuropsychological and motor impairments. It is estimated that spent fluorescent lamps account for approximately 20\% of mercury input in the MSW in China. Even though recycling of fluorescent lamps presents an important opportunity to capture the mercury they contain, it is difficult and not cost-effective at reducing the mercury risk under the broader context of mercury pollution control in China. In light of the significant mercury emissions associated with electricity generation in China, we propose that reduction of mercury emissions and risk associated with fluorescent lamps should be achieved primarily through lowering their mercury contents by the manufacturers while recycling programs should focus on elemental mercury-containing waste products instead of fluorescent lamps to recapture mercury from the waste stream cost-effectively. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This article was published in Environ Int and referenced in Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education

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