Fluorescent lighting is an excellent business and environmental choice because it is highly energy efficient. Unfortunately, in order to function properly, fluorescent lamps contain mercury, a toxic pollutant that persists in the environment and harms human health.
Mercury causes damage to the human brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. It is especially dangerous during fetal development and to small children. Any products containing mercury must be recycled to keep this dangerous element out of our environment.
When a lamp is broken or placed in a landfill or incinerator, mercury is released into the environment. The amount of mercury contained in just 25 standard fluorescent lamps can pollute a 20-acre lake, making the fish in the lake unsafe to eat.
About 80% of all fluorescent lamps and tubes are used by commercial buildings. Several million of these are discarded each year, making these lamps one of the largest sources of mercury in Maryland solid waste stream.
The U.S. consumption of mercury containing fluorescent & HID lamps exceeds 1 billion annually. The disposal of these results in over 90,000 pounds of mercury entering our environment each year. It only takes 20 milligrams of mercury to make an adult sick.