Farewell to fluorescent lighting: How a phaseout can cut mercury pollution, protect the climate, and save money

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Mercury-free LED replacements for linear and compact fluorescent bulbs are widely available and provide the same or better lighting, longer product life, and much lower total cost than fluorescents. This study finds that drop-in LED replacement lamps are available for all common linear fluorescent tubes, pin-based compact fluorescent lamps, and specialty applications. Policies to accelerate the phaseout of fluorescent lighting and a full transition to LED lighting would eliminate a significant source of mercury pollution and its threat to human health and the environment. Government policies to limit mercury have often exempted fluorescent lighting—the most common use of mercury in homes and commercial buildings—because ready-to-go, mercury-free substitutes did not exist. Our findings show that such exemptions for fluorescent lighting are no longer necessary.

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