The energy-saving lamp is broken, mercury vapor can’t hurt people

Recently, an online post entitled “The British Ministry of Health warns about energy-saving light bulbs” stated: “Energy-saving light bulbs contain mercury. If broken, they will threaten people’s health. Be careful not to use a vacuum cleaner to clean up debris and broken energy-saving light bulbs; Put on rubber gloves; be careful not to inhale mercury-containing dust. After the bulb is broken, everyone should leave the room for at least 15 minutes.” The online post caused people to worry, and some netizens even said: “The mercury vapor produced by smashing energy-saving lamps can poison people. !”

[Question 1] Is the mercury vapor of broken energy-saving lamps serious?

It is true that a small amount of mercury vapor will be generated after the energy-saving lamp is broken, but netizens say that it will poison people, which is sensational! When an electric current passes through an energy-saving lamp, the excited mercury vapor in the lamp tube emits ultraviolet rays, which are absorbed by the phosphor-coated glass to produce fluorescence and emit visible light. The industry standard stipulates that the mercury content of compact fluorescent lamps (ie, energy-saving bulbs commonly used in households) should not exceed 5 mg.

For example, a 15-watt spiral energy-saving lamp containing 2.5 mg of mercury requires less than 0.01 mg of mercury vapor to emit light. When the lamp is broken, the mercury that enters the atmosphere immediately is this part of the mercury vapor. For a room with a meter area, the concentration will not exceed 0.003 mg/m3 after 15 minutes of ventilation, which is far below the safety standard (the time-weighted average allowable concentration of mercury in the air in the workplace is 0.02 mg/m3). “As for the energy-saving lamps in normal use, mercury in the sealed tube will not harm the human body.”

[Question two] Will 1 milligram of mercury pollute 360 ​​tons of water?

This is only the research data in the laboratory, which cannot be verified for authenticity, nor can it prove whether this analogy can be done in the natural environment.

The maximum mercury content per liter of water is 0.001 mg, which means that as long as the mercury content in 1 ton of water is less than or equal to 1 mg, it is a safe value. “According to this standard, assuming that 1 milligram of mercury is diluted in 360 tons of water, the harm is almost negligible.”

[Question three] Will energy-saving lamps cause mercury pollution?

“There are many places in life that may be exposed to mercury, such as some marine fish, whitening creams with excessive mercury, mercury-containing batteries, clinical thermometers, sphygmomanometers, etc.” Energy-saving lamps were thrown into the trash can, broken and burned to produce atomic mercury vapor It enters the atmosphere, then settles into the soil or rivers, and interacts with microorganisms to become organic mercury compounds (such as methylmercury). Methylmercury can dissolve in fat and accumulate in the kidneys, brain and other organs of the human body, leading to chronic poisoning.

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