Time for the LED industry to come clean

The LED industry needs to provide convincing evidence that its products are environmentally friendly.

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Compared with CFLs, replacement LED lamps have a number of advantages and drawbacks. While CFLs have for some years been marketed as energy-efficient light sources, LED lamps are only barely starting to become a viable alternative, reflecting the current performance and cost of LED products.

However, one factor may lead to the downfall of CFLs, to the ultimate benefit of LEDs. In a word: mercury. CFLs don’t contain much, but it’s there. Attitudes vary as to the dangers posed. There was the story of a broken CFL in a US home that resulted in a clean-up operation costing thousands of dollars. In contrast, I was recently sent four free CFLs by my UK electricity supplier. In a Q&A, the question “Should I be worried about mercury content” was answered with “No. The material involved doesn’t pose a significant health problem. If a bulb breaks ventilate the room for a few minutes.”

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This article was published in the September/October 2008 issue of LEDs Magazine.

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