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What type of gas is in a fluorescent light bulb?

4 min read

Asked by: Massiel Gentle

A fluorescent lamp consists of a glass tube filled with a mixture of argon and mercury vapour. Metal electrodes at each end are coated with an alkaline earth oxide that gives off electrons easily. When current flows through the gas between the electrodes, the gas is ionized and emits ultraviolet radiation.

What kind of gas is in a fluorescent light bulb?

A fluorescent lamp tube is filled with a gas containing low pressure mercury vapour and noble gases at a total pressure of about 0.3% of the atmospheric pressure.

Is the gas in fluorescent light bulbs toxic?

The Bad: Fluorescent tubes & CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury gas (about 4 mg) – which is toxic to our nervous system, lungs and kidneys. So long as bulbs stay intact, the mercury gas is no threat. This means bulbs should be handled properly to avoid breakage.

Do fluorescent light bulbs contain oxygen gas?

Argon gas is used in fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs to stop the oxygen in the light bulbs from corroding the hot tungsten filament. The use of argon in light bulbs prevents the evaporation of the tungsten filaments, which results in increased light bulb life.

What happens if you breathe in a broken fluorescent bulb?

Mercury vapor is released when the bulb is broken. Inhaling mercury vapor is hazardous to your health. Breathing in mercury vapors may cause symptoms such as cough, fever, difculty breathing, nausea, vomiting, headaches, increased salivation and an acute metallic taste in the mouth.

Are fluorescent lights toxic when broken?

When broken, mercury vapors may be released into the air. The mercury released from broken bulb is mostly in vapor form. If properly cleaned up, broken bulbs or CFLs do not pose a serious health risk.

Can you get mercury poisoning from a broken CFL bulb?

Persons in rooms after breakage of a CFL may be exposed to mercury by inhalation and by oral intake. After inhalation, more than 80% of inhaled Hg0 vapour is absorbed by the lungs. Ingested Hg0 is poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract (less than 0.01%).

What if I vacuumed up a broken CFL?

Additional advice can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/mercury. * If you already vacuumed a broken CFL: For a recent break (within a couple of days of the break): Air out the house for up to several hours to get rid of any remaining mercury vapor and change your vacuum cleaner bag or wipe out the dust cup.

What is the white powder in fluorescent tubes?

The white powder that you see inside a fluorescent light bulb is called phosphor, which is a substance that emits visible light whenever it absorbs ultra violet energy waves. The phosphor used in a fluorescent light bulb is what determines both the color temperature and the color rendering index.

How long does mercury vapor stay in the air?

one year

They can go through small cracks or become strongly attached to certain materials. At room temperature, exposed elemental mercury can evaporate to become an invisible, odorless toxic vapor. This vapor has a very long life (up to one year) in the air.

How much mercury is in a 4 foot fluorescent bulb?

The average mercury content of a 4-foot-long bulb manufactured today is approximately 12 mg. Bulbs manufactured in the mid-1980s and earlier con- tained 40 mg or more. Low-mercury bulbs, containing 4 mg or less, are currently produced by at least one manufacturer.

Do fluorescent lights leak mercury?

Manufacturers of fluorescent lighting products are working to reduce the amount of mercury content in CFLs. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (i.e., not broken) or in use, but mercury vapor and very small beads of mercury can be released when a CFL is broken.

What do you do if you break a fluorescent tube?

Keep a window or door to the outdoors open; Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available; and. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.

What if I break a mercury light bulb?

Despite some alarming news reports, you don’t have much to worry about. If a CFL breaks, some of the mercury that’s contained in the bulb will evaporate into the air.