[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: energy efficient lighting contracting query-low mercury

Hi Rod,

It is important when specifying "low mercury" lighting to note that some
brands of fluorescent lamps advertised as "low mercury" have the same
amount of mercury as a comparable regular fluorescent lamp. The
difference is that various additives make the "low mercury" lamp pass
the TCLP test by reducing the leaching of the mercury during that test,
and theoretically in a landfill. 

This does not necessarily make the lamp safer if it breaks, and does not
reduce the amount of mercury  used in manufacturing and in commerce.
These lamps should also be recycled, and some states have banned all
fluorescent lamps, including "low mercury" ones, from landfills. (See
Florida at
and Maine at http://www.state.me.us/dep/rwm/Hginvoice.htm).

Retrofitting for the most energy efficient T8 lamps will reduce the
amount of mercury used compared to most T12s or older, non-standard
lamps that are commonly found in older, non-retrofitted government
buildings. Some fluorescent lamps contain up to 60 mg of mercury, some
(all from Philips) as low as 3.5 mg. How low you can go in mercury
depends on what kind of fixture you have.

New Jersey required mercury content disclosure in their most recent lamp
purchasing RFP, although they did not use this information to decide
which lamps to have on contract. I have attached a table showing the
mercury content of the lamps offered for sale on the NJ contract. More
information on the NJ contract is available at
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/purchase/noa/contracts/t0192.shtml .

INFORM helps state governments reduce their purchase of products
containing persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals. Two years ago
INFORM did some research on mercury content in fluorescent lamps. We are
now in the process of updating this information. In our opinion, lamp
purchasing decisions should be made on the basis of mercury content per
lumen and rated life. (The longer the rated life, the fewer lamps you
will need over time. The higher the lumens, the fewer lamps you need

Here is the information from the late 2001/early 2002 mercury content
data we gathered from manufacturers. I will send an update when we
finalize our new information:

The information we have on mercury content for fluorescent lamps refers
to standard four-foot T8 lamps. Their content is:

Philips Alto: 3.5 mg for T8 lamps
GE: 6 to 9 mg for both Ecolux and regular T8 "rapid start" lamps
Osram Sylvania: 6 to 8 mg for both Ecologic and regular T8  lamps


Philips Alto lamps:
Philips is not shy about announcing the mercury content of their lamps.
This information is available on their website at
http://www.lighting.philips.com/nam/feature/alto/whitepaper.shtml. This
information was also given to David Klebenov, an INFORM researcher, by
Paul Walitsky, Manager of Environmental Affairs at Philips (Tel:(732)
563-3197, Email: paul.walitsky@philips.com) during a phone call on
12/21/01. Mr. Walitsky stated that the Alto TL70 and TL80 lamps have 3.5
mg Hg per bulb.

General Electric:
GE has two public documents that state the mercury content of their
"low-mercury" Ecolux lamps. GE's Ecolux brochure
(www.gelighting.com/na/downloads/Ecolux.pdf) states that the bulbs have
1/3000 oz. mercury per bulb. 1/3000 oz is approximately or 9.44 mg. GE's
product description form (Technology Review: The Ecolux Fluorescent
Lamp) states that Ecolux lamps have less than 10 mg of mercury.

David Klebenov, an INFORM researcher, also spoke to William Jackson,
GE's General Manager of the Linear Fluorescent Technology Group (Tel:
216-266-3754, Email: william.jackson@lighting.ge.com) on 1/4/02. Mr.
Jackson stated that that the 4' Ecolux T8 lamps have between 6 and 9 mg

David Klebenov, and INFORM researcher. later spoke with Joe Howley,
Director of Environmental Marketing for GE (Tel: 800-435-4448) on
2/1/02. Mr. Howley stated that the Ecolux line does not have lower
mercury content, but simply has been tested and documented as being TCLP
compliant. For all 2'-5' lamps, the range of mercury is 6-9 mg Hg, with
a maximum of 10 mg Hg.

Osram Sylvania:
Bob Horner of Sylvania (Tel: 978-750-2450, Email:
robert.horner@sylvania.com) told me during a phone call on 1/14/02 that
their T8 lamps (both low mercury and full dose) have between 6 and 8 mg
mercury and that their T12s have 9 mg mercury. He had previously also
told Kelly Luck, a Senior Research Associate at INFORM, that their low
mercury T8s contain 6 to 8 mg of mercury.

Although Philips can state exactly how much mercury is in their lamps,
the other manufacturers do not use the same sort of manufacturing
method, and they do not necessarily have the same mercury dosage in
every lot of lamps. That is why they usually give a range for the amount
of mercury in the lamps.

Please let me know if I can be of more assistance.

Lara Sutherland
Senior Research Associate
1121 Albion St. #801 Door Code 10
Denver, Colorado 80220
Phone: 303-377-7048
Fax: 303-377-7049

"Sobin,Rodney" wrote:
> A colleague got an inquiry from our Dept. of General Services (DGS), which is interested in >promoting environmentally preferable lighting (energy efficiency and I presume low Hg fluorescents >[and maybe low glare/light pollution for outdoor fixtures]) through the state contract process.  >Does anyone have:
> *       A good definition of environmentally preferable lighting and/or
> *       Example contracts or RFP/RFQ language
> that they can share?