Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) or green lamp popular for being energy efficient is not as environment and health-friendly as the government claims owing to its higher mercury content, revealed a study.The average mercury content in CFLs sold in Indian market is 21 mg per lamp as compared to global best of three to four mg, the study released on Thursday by NGO Toxic Link said.
Higher mercury content poses greater risk to vital organs such as liver and it can cause neurological problems to pregnant women and children. This happens only if a lamp is damaged and comes in direct contact with heavy metals.
CFLs has been promoted in a bid to check rising carbon emissions as they are 40% more energy efficient than incandescent lamps.
In fact, the CFL market in India is growing at an annual rate of 36% with the government's Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) promoting it by selling at highly subsidised rates. The BEE's Bachat Lamp Yojana is registered with the UN's carbon offsetting scheme.
Ravi Aggarwal, the director of Toxic Link, said the study has revealed that the Central Pollution Control Board's claim in 2008 that CFLs contains 3-12 mg of mercury is not fully correct.
Mercury content in the lamps of four leading brands ranges between 2.27 mg and 62.56 mg, the study said. "It is free for all as there were no standards set on mercury in CFLs in India," Aggarwal said.
Even safe disposal of CFLs is still an issue with the environment ministry not including the lamps under the electronic waste management and disposal rules.