Mercury Policy Project

Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure

Archive for February, 2008

New CFL Breakage Clean-Up Guidance

February 25th, 2008 by mpp

Tests conducted by the State of Maine (see FAQ and Clean-Up Instructions) confirm earlier states findings suggesting that under certain conditions mercury vapor released from a broken compact fluorescent lamp can pose a health risk. As a precaution, states like Vermont and Massachusetts are now suggesting removal of carpeting where breakage has occurred where there are infants and pregnant women present. A report MPP released today recommends that sensitive populations should take extra precautions to reduce risks associated with breakage, but says that CFLs generally can and should still be used in everyone’s homes until a nontoxic light bulb becomes available. The report also recommends the adoption of more comprehensive environmental and human health guidelines by decision makers that, in addition to energy-efficiency, address other concerns, including:

  • Reduced toxicity while maintaining performance;
  • Improved breakage resistance and longer lamp life (which can reduce manufacturing, transportation and disposal impacts);
  • Sustainable manufacturing processes (such as the use of encapsulated mercury-dosing technologies);
  • Responsible end-of-life management (particularly through producer responsibility in funding lamp collection and retailer collection programs)
  • Innovative technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that use less- or non-toxic materials, that have significantly longer life, are much more efficient for certain applications, and/or that offer other measurable environmental benefits.

In response to the Maine CFL breakage study, the US EPA has made some changes to its CFL clean up guidance.

However, according to MPP Director Bender, the EPA advice could be readily improved through following new state guidance which 1) recommends against vacuuming and 2) instead favors cleaning up the debris with cardboard and sticky tape and quickly removing it from the home, so as to 3) minimize vaporization of mercury.

Category: Green Lighting, Mercury Products | Comments Off

Investigation of EPA’s Dental Mercury Emissions Estimate

February 18th, 2008 by mpp

As a result of its findings from a November 14, 2007 hearing at which MPP Director Bender testified, the US House Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is conducting an investigation into the work of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine if EPA has underestimated mercury emissions related to dental use of mercury. The Subcommittee’s hearing revealed significant disparities between the agency’s data for mercury emissions related to dental use of mercury and other estimates. EPA has even expressed a lack of confidence in some of its estimates. Furthermore, there are a number of other emissions pathways for which EPA has failed to develop any estimates, as the attached letter from the Subcommittee to EPA Administrator Steve Johnson outlines. It its letter, Chairman Dennis Kucinich requests that EPA provide specific information to the Committee no later than Feb.29, 2008.

Category: Dental Mercury, Emissions, Mercury Products, US | Comments Off

Oceana/MPP Study Shows High Tuna Levels

February 4th, 2008 by mpp

Mercury has again been in the news with the release of new data on mercury levels in tuna sushi by the New York Times and Oceana/Mercury Policy Project study. While the results were startling–around 1 of 3 pieces of tuna tested had levels above FDA’s action level of 1 PPM–the attack by special interests against those covering the news was swift and erroneous. Seemingly, according to these special interests, everyone including pregnant women and children could eat as much high mercury fish as they wanted, without any risk. In response, 29 mercury experts from 11 countries signed on to the following open letter to set the record straight.

Category: Fish and Seafood, Mercury Exposure, Reports | Comments Off