Mercury is an essential element in the operation of fluorescent lighting; it allows the bulbs to be an efficient light source. Because CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, it is important to educate yourself on proper use, recycling and disposal of these products.
CFLs use significantly less energy than traditional light bulbs (75% less). If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, we would save enough energy every year to light 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars. And even though CFLs contain a small amount of mercury that could ultimately end up in the environment, that amount is significantly less than the amount of mercury avoided as a result of the energy savings.
Like any other product containing potentially hazardous materials that you use in your home, CFLs come with some special instructions.
You may have heard that the government is requiring all light bulbs to be more efficient in the next few years. Learn more about how the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will affect the sale of light bulbs.