There have been many reports about the dangers of mercury in lighting fixtures, but it is important to have the right perspective. Many industries know the importance of safety, but how important is mercury vapor in bulbs and fixtures? Does it make a difference?
Why mercury vapour?
Mercury vapor is useful because it allows the bulb to have an arc between the electrodes to work more efficiently and extend its life. They are used in a variety of lighting devices and are generally considered to be used for compact fluorescent lighting. However, they are also commonly used in high-intensity discharge bulbs. The reason for this is that they can control the arc burning and maintain the intensity. This means better light quality.
There are other gases for this purpose. Unfortunately, none of them have been shown to be effective. If mercury vapour were a benign gas with no effect on the wider world around it, it would be a suitable alternative to some less efficient sources of light. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
What are the hazards of mercury vapors?
The problem with mercury gas and its use in light bulbs is that it is highly toxic. Although it's in the light bulb it's hardly a threat. The gas is independent and will be slowly depleted by the light source. The main problem with these bulbs is whether they break or leak.
If the mercury bulb breaks, it releases gas into the air. This can be inhaled and cause serious damage at acute doses. People who use CFLS at home are often very concerned about this.
But while you should take precautions to carefully clean mercury vapor bulbs, the actual threat to the domestic environment is minimal. In an industrial environment, things are a little tricky. Large high-intensity discharge bulbs, such as metal halide lamps, are larger and can release more gas if they break in a closed environment. Not only that, but the number of bulbs poses a significant risk. Another problem is that defective bulbs can leak gas into the working environment. This is a hidden danger because you won't be able to see the gas leak until it's released into the atmosphere.
This is a big problem with a problem
To be honest, even in an industrial environment, gas release is unlikely. There is little information about the adverse effects on workers, even if the theory supports one problem.
However, mercury vapor lamps are far from the best option on the market. Because they use gas to make their light bulbs work, they are much less efficient, they waste electricity on unwanted heat, and their mass is much faster than that of LED bulbs.
This is a major problem for many industrial enterprises. HID using mercury vapor has potential safety risks. This risk is negated when using leds that do not require gas. Not only that, they turn on immediately, and they don't require the time it takes for HID bulbs like metal halides or high-voltage sodium bulbs to reach the required intensity.
LED lights do not lose lumens in a short time, making them more energy efficient and cost effective. Their light quality is just as good, but it's also more versatile, and lighting is instantaneous. Mercury lighting may not be as unsafe as some people, but LED lighting is related and completely safe. Not only that, they are better. While some may have argued in the past that leds cost too much, this is no longer the case. There is no reason to use mercury bulbs when you compare them to LED lighting through plug-and-play direct replacement and simple ballast bypass bulbs. Even if they are safe
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