Isn’t there a Government of Canada policy requiring Canadians to use more fluorescent light bulbs that contain mercury?
Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations will take effect in 2012. This plan was announced in 2007.
The Natural Resources Canada regulation sets a minimum performance level for light bulbs imported into Canada or sold inter-provincially. It will essentially phase-out incandescent light bulbs that range from 40 to 60 watts as of December 31st, 2012. Bulbs with higher wattage, such as 75 or 100 W bulbs, will be phased out starting January 1st, 2012.
If citizens across Canada all use more efficient lighting options, there will be a decrease in demand for electricity. Lots of electricity in Canada is generated from coal-firing plants, which are one of the largest sources of mercury emissions in Canada.
The lighting industry has been diligent in developing new energy efficient technologies.
Consumer options include Light-emitting Diode (LED) lights, which are efficient, cool-to-the-touch, and have good durability and long lives (of at least 25,000 hours); Halogen infrared (HIR) bulbs, a type of incandescent bulb that is more efficient than traditional ones; and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Mercury is an essential component in fluorescent lamps. It is what allows the lamp to be an efficient light source. Mercury is the only element available that produces the appropriate ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths when excited by an electric current. This UV then excites the phosphor coating to produce visible light.
When the proposed new regulation of mercury-containing products takes effect, all mercury-containing lamps available for purchase in Canada will contain only low quantities of mercury.
Natural Resources Canada has produced its own Frequently Asked Questions about Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and issued a useful bulletin about the desired performance levels for lights in Canada.
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