CFL Fact Sheet

CFL LIGHT QUALITY                                                                                


Equal or superior to today’s incandescent globes, new electronically ballasted CFLs also don’t flicker or hum. 


Because of different light distribution, CFLs may appear less bright than the bulb they replace unless used in a specially designed fitting. Therefore when replacing an incandescent lamp with a CFL in an existing fitting, it may be better to use a slightly higher wattage to ensure adequate light output.


CFL light output may also drop slightly over time. It’s important to clean or dust CFLs regularly and light fittings to maintain an optimum light output, particularly given their extended lifespan. 


MERCURY CONTENT                                                                                


CFLs have a high electrical component and less than 3mg traces of mercury, which is required to operate the lamp. 3mg is one eighth of the mercury found in watch batteries and 150 times less than that found in a thermometer or dental filling. 


The trace amount of mercury is sealed within glass tubing and is not dangerous to users when the lamp is intact or in use as no mercury is released. However, as mercury is a toxic substance it’s important that CFLs are handled carefully and disposed of responsibly.


HANDLING AND DISPOSAL                                                                  


Handle CFLs with care. If you break a CFL you can release mercury into the atmosphere. Gently sweep up the glass fragments and use a damp cloth to pick up fine particles. If the breakage is on carpet, use sticky tape then a damp cloth to clean up the debris prior to vacuuming. Place all debris into a sealed plastic bag for disposal and ventilate the room where possible. 


In Australia there is no legislation covering the disposal of CFLs and other electronic waste, therefore it is legal to place them in your household garbage. Contact your local recycling and waste depot for information on CFL disposal alternatives in your community. Please do not contaminate your recyclable waste.

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