Currently the push towards lower energy lighting in particular has drawn both regulators and concerned citizens attention to the situation concerning the use of mercury (Hg) in theses products and in particular the increasing tendency to use cfl-compact fluorescent light bulbs.
One natural question comes to mind. How does the light source and it's compulsory recycling compare with other products and process emissions of Hg? cf. fig. Hg in products from USA's EPA. (Environmental Protection Agency).
Which Processes emit Hg and to what extent? cf. TABLE and FIG. for USA from EPA below.
The Following Fig. taken from Wikipedia shows a partial life cycle assessment approach a comparing potential Hg emissions in two current light-bulb products.
The global distribution of Hg emissions are mapped as follows, due to The Encyclopedia of Earth.
This short introductory graphic series would not be complete without a few pointers to the substantial work in progress aimed at eliminating Hg both from CFL's light cycle and the Coal-fired power generation cycle.
Sources and references:
1. EPA's Road-map and the Executive Summary.
The Road-map focuses on six key areas:
1.mercury releases to the environment;
2.mercury uses in products and industrial processes;
3.managing commodity-grade mercury supplies;
4.communicating risks to the public;
5.international mercury sources; and
6.conducting mercury research and monitoring.
2. The Encyclopedia of Earth .
Hg removal Coal powered flue gases
3. CONTROL OF MERCURY EMISSIONS FROM COAL-FIRED ELECTRIC UTILITY BOILERS _pdf format Air Pollution Prevention and Control Division National Risk Management Research Laboratory Office of Research and Development U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park, NC
4. Control of Mercury Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants:
A Preliminary Cost Assessment _pdf format , Thomas Brown, William O’Dowd, Robert Reuther, and Dennis Smith U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Technology Center