ENERGY STAR CFLs and Mercury

Bar chart showing total mercury emissions in CFLs compared to incandescents. CFLs: Mercury in the bulb 0.4, Power Plant Emissions 1.2. Incandescent Bulb: Mercury in the bulb 0. Power Plant Emissions 5.8.What is the real environmental cost of the mercury in ENERGY STAR CFLs?

Electricity production is the main source of mercury emissions in the U.S. Because they are 75 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs, qualified CFLs actually reduce the amount of this substance entering the environment. Even though incandescent bulbs don't contain any mercury, the increased electricity production they require compared to CFLs introduces more of it into the atmosphere.

If a CFL breaks in your home, take the appropriate steps to clean it up. You can reduce the potential risk from the mercury inside by following proper clean-up procedures.

Recycling procedures can reclaim up to 90 percent of the mercury in bulbs. Find a recycling facility near you.