China to Largely Reduce Mercury in Fluorescent Lamps

A jointly published notice by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has announced that by phasing out the liquid mercury production process from 2013 to 2015, compared with 2010, mercury discharges from the production process of fluorescent lamp is expected to be reduced by 50% and the average mercury content in a single lamp is to be cut down by 80%. Over half of fluorescent lamps will contain less than 1mg mercury. China is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of fluorescent lamps. Seven billion fluorescent lamps were produced in 2011, including 4.7 billion compact ones, accounting for 80% of the global production amount. According to Requirements for Concentration Limits for Certain Hazardous Substances in Lighting Equipment (QB/T 2940-2008), mercury content in the compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and in the straight tubular fluorescent lamps cannot exceed 5mg and 10 mg, respectively. Every year, the industry consumes large quantities of the toxic heavy metal, which now is faced with tremendous pressure of reducing its use for the protection of the environment and human health. The reduction of heavy metals is bolstered by several important national policies. The 12th Five Year Plan for Energy Saving and Emission Reduction and the 12th Five Year Plan for Comprehensive Control of Heavy Metal Pollution issued by the State Council promote the green lighting engineering and make the control of mercury as one of the key goals. Besides, the MIIT’s 12th Five Year Plan for Promotion of Industrial Cleaner Production has centered on the mercury injection method to decrease the substance in the fluorescent lamps and better control its pollution. Specifically, the government will invest and encourage the development and application of cleaner production technology in the fluorescent industry, promote the use of efficient and long-life lamps with low content of mercury as well as strengthen the supervision of manufacturers to strictly control the discharge of solid waste and waste water and gas contaminated by Hg. The following table shows the specific target of reduction of mercury in fluorescent lamps. Phase Deadline Fluorescent lamp Target (mg) Compared to QB/T 2490-2008, reduced by 1 31/12/2013 Compact fluorescent lamp ?30W 1.5 70% >30W 2.5 50% long-acting fluorescent lamp 4.0 50% Other fluorescent lamp Pipe diameter?17mm 2.5 75% Pipe diameter>17mm 3.0 70% 2 31/12/2014 Compact fluorescent lamp ?30W 1.0 80% >30W 1.5 70% long-acting fluorescent lamp 3.0 63% Other fluorescent lamp Pipe diameter?17mm 1.5 85% Pipe diameter>17mm 2.0 80% 3 31/12/2015 Compact fluorescent lamp ?30W 0.8 84% >30W 1.0 80% long-acting fluorescent lamp 2.5 69% Other fluorescent lamp Pipe diameter?17mm 1.0 90% Pipe diameter>17mm 1.5 85%

Chemlinked, 14 March 2013 ; ;