Gallery: ArmorLite: A CFL Bulb Without The Risk of Toxic Mercury Exposu...


Compact fluorescent light bulbs are the light source of choice for budget-minded greenies everywhere, but they come with one big drawback:  a potentially dangerous mercury-filled center. If you accidentally drop a bulb, beware; you could be exposed to the toxic stuff. But now, finally, a company has come up with a CFL option sans the risks of mercury — the ArmorLite bulb.

Clear-Lite Holding’s CFL bulb isn’t mercury-free, but it does feature an outer “skin” to prevent users from releasing mercury if the glass breaks. In a lab test performed by Cambridge Materials Testing, ArmorLite bulbs dropped from a height of five feet and crushed on a counter didn’t let loose any mercury–a good sign for accident-prone bulb users.

Clear-Lite’s ArmorLite bulb may not be necessary for long. Researchers at Brown University’s Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation are working on a mercury-absorbent material that can easily clean up CFL spills. But in the meantime, the ArmorLite is already available from for $7.99.

+ Clear-Lite

Via Green Inc.


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  1. jmsilva3 July 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    You should also check out the The bulb uses 1/4 of the electricity of normal bulbs…
    it also lasts over 10,000 hours, that’s around 5 to 7 years of normal household use. It also comes with a Air Purifier chip
    that ionizes the air in your home, cleaning it from particles, bacteria, smoke and other odor…naturally.
    And the negative ions are good for your hearth as well.

  2. mprichar June 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    At first, I was a little hesitant about spending a little extra for these bulbs but I’m glad I did. We seem to have more than our fair share of broken bulbs around our house and the peace of mind was worth it. Last week one of the kids tried to change a bulb in the kitchen and dropped the bulb when they went to put it in. Beyond providing assurance that there was no exposure to mercury, there was also no mess to clean up. It was great! I hate having to try to get up all of those little tiny fragments of glass. Instead I just picked it all up at once. It didn’t seem to take any longer to warm up than any other CFL bulb I’ve used. I would like to see more varieties available but I’m sure that will come with time.

  3. metis March 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    yes, fluorescent lamps produce uv. in fact they emit uv exclusively which is then re-emitted by phosphors as visible light. incandescent sources will produce trace amounts of UV and white leds work similar to fluorescents in that they emit uv and cause phosphors to re-emit visible light. heck, even a candle will produce some uv.

    unless you’re *very* sensitive to uv, the amounts concerned are far less than the amount your body needs to produce vitamin d and remain healthy.

    if you’re looking at archival lighting, well that’s a whole nother ball of wax and well outside the spec sheets most manufacturer’s don’t provide.

    a better question is “is the ballast re-usable and recyclable at end of life?” the ballast is where most of the material and hazardous waste that goes to waste is. the glass/phosphors/trace amounts of mercury are readily recycled, and the exposure risk unless you’re breathing in the dust as you break lamps repeatedly over your head is probably less than you get from eating fish.

  4. killerbunny March 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    This protective coating should be checked to see if it REDUCES the amount of UV radation emitted by some CFLs. All CFLs emit UV but the coating inside the lamp glass is supposed to block it. However, some CFLs have thin or inefficient coatings so emit detectable UV. Apparetnly the UV output is weak enough to only register within a foot of the lamp and that enclosures such as white glass fixtures or plastic bezels will block this emitted UV. I tested a few uncovered 26w CFLs plain, 26w CFLs covered by white fixture, 26w CFLs covered by clear glass fixture, and 100w incandescent bulbs using a crude UV-detector card. The SolALERT card by MDSolarSciences changes tint as UV varies according to simple UV outdoor exposure index, 1 (low) to 11 (high) and doesn’t indicate type of UV or wavelengths detected. Only the uncovered CFL registered on the card, a “1”.

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