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Estimating human indoor exposure to elemental mercury from broken compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)

 
: Salthammer, T.; Uhde, E.; Omelan, A.; Lüdecke, A.; Moriske, H.-J.

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Indoor Air 22 (2012), No.4, pp.289-298
ISSN: 0905-6947
ISSN: 1600-0668
English
Journal Article
Fraunhofer WKI ()
ventilation; chamber experiments; real room; health risk

Abstract
The 2008 EU regulation which prohibits conventional incandescent light bulbs is to be implemented in phases, completing in 2012. One of the possible substitutes are compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), which, however, do contain up to 5 mg of mercury in its elemental or amalgamated form. The question arises as to the possible exposure of individuals to mercury as a result of lamp breakage during operation or when disconnected from the power supply. Therefore, an apparatus was built to shatter CFLs and drop the shards onto PETG, a carpeted floor, or laminate floor under defined climatic parameters and operating conditions. Six CFLs of different type and mercury content were studied. After the breakage of a common CFL containing liquid mercury, concentrations up to 8000 ng m?3 were reached in the chamber. Much lower peak values were obtained with amalgam type lamps (414 ng m?3) or with lamps with a shatter-proof coating (60 ng m?3). It was found that ventilation can considerably reduce the indoor air concentration within 20 min. Acute health effects would only be expected if the mercury is not removed immediately. Careful collection and disposal of the lamp fragments would also prevent dwellers from the risk of long-term exposure.

: http://publica.fraunhofer.de/documents/N-192329.html