CFLs and Swordfish?

The National Lighting Bureau (NLB), Silver Spring, Md., isn't happy about what it calls "misinformation" regarding mercury in compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)and wants consumers to hear both sides of the story.

"There's so much misinformation about mercury in compact fluorescent lamps," says John Bachner, NLB's communication director. "The overall effect is counterproductive for the nation as a whole. In fact, use of CFLS will result in far less mercury in the environment rather than more."

In a recently released NLB P.R. statement, Bachner said the amount of mercury in the typical CFL is not enough to coat the head of a pin and that, "The average swordfish contains 20 times as much mercury." "When a CFL is broke, most of the mercury adheres to the glass and does not disperse into the air," he said. "Reasonable caution is all that's needed to deal with the situation." NLB says two good resources on the topic are EPA guidance on cleaning up a broken CFL and a white paper published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va. Other information is available at

Need more green news? Check out GreenBiz, a free email newsletter published twice-a–month by the editors of Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Construction and Maintenance magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.