Devising State Policy on Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Devising State Policy on Compact Fluorescent Lamps

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes

Consumers have increased their use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) due to their greater energy efficiency relative to traditional incandescent bulbs. Despite this benefit, CFLs pose potential environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risks due to the presence of mercury within the lamp itself. Without proper handling and disposal, the mercury can be released, with possible health risks to humans. While each CFL has a small amount of mercury, the cumulative environmental and health effects might be significant.

This case puts students in the position of deciding what to do about CFLs. They have been appointed by their state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources to serve on an advisory board to recommend a statewide policy on the disposal of compact fluorescent lamps after their useful life. ...

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