Energy-saving lamps with mercury - what's the danger?


Time and again, one hears of the danger that mercury presents in energy-saving lamps. Many reports are therefore already discouraging the use of energy-saving lamps. Meanwhile, there are also voices claiming that the burden is minimal. Which of these opinions are actually scientifically substantiated, we want to show here once.

How much is too much?

Mercury is a neurotoxin, but how much mercury is actually contained in a lamp and how much mercury harms a human? Part of the problem is that mercury is the only heavy metal that liquefies at room temperature.

An energy-saving lamp can contain up to about ten milligrams of mercury. These could escape when the lamp breaks into the room air. As a result, there is a danger that bystanders inhale the mercury.

Limits and dose of mercury

  • old energy saving lamps up to 10 milligrams
  • less than 30 watts - EU limit 2.5 milligrams
  • 30 to 50 watts - EU limit 3.5 milligrams
  • lethal dose at least 150 milligrams

Ministry of Environment and EU

Until around 2011, about ten milligrams of mercury got into the room air due to a broken energy-saving lamp. According to this study by the Ministry of Environment, the limit that a lamp may contain for mercury has been set much lower in the EU since 2013.

The main problem, however, is the verification of the limits. Whether the companies comply with the limits for the production of energy-saving lamps, however, has not been fully reviewed by the federal states. Only from time to time are found at individual manufacturers too high levels and then punished.

Variants and safety

Some energy saving lamps have a splinter protection made of silicone. These lights are covered with a thin layer of silicone. Customers of the Swedish furniture manufacturer will know and appreciate the soft coverings over the lights. These lights can also fall on the tiles once, without breaking immediately. Unfortunately, these variants are also a bit more expensive for many manufacturers.

Other models are filled with the mercury alloy amalgam. The advantage is that amalgam can only be released when it is under power and is lit. However, most such lights break when they are not turned on.

Shattered light

You should protect yourself as a precaution and quickly hold a wet cloth in front of your mouth and nose while you put the remains of the lamp in a plastic bag. You should close it well and hand it in at the next visit to the pollutant mobile.

Tips & Tricks

Since energy-saving lamps have even more shortcomings and, for example, take a long time to develop their full luminosity, you should rather resort to a modern LED light, if a new purchase is necessary. This requires much less power and has a longer life without startup problems.


Video Board: DANGER! The (Compact Fluorescent Bulb) and (mercury) at home