Members of the Lamp Section of Rosslyn, Va.-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) recently announced that they are voluntarily reducing the maximum allowable mercury content in the compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that they offer for sale for typical residential use in the United States. This agreement builds upon the companies’ March 2007 voluntary commitment and is consistent with NEMA’s initiative to reduce use of hazardous substances whenever feasible.

“NEMA lamp companies acknowledge the importance of reducing mercury content of fluorescent lamps while continuing to achieve the high performance and quality consumers expect,” says NEMA Lamp Section Chair Pam Horner. “NEMA’s update of the voluntary commitment today is made possible by research and engineering innovation in the lamp industry.”

“This decision is further evidence of the electrical manufacturing community’s determination to be leaders in environmental stewardship while maintaining the highest standards of product safety and performance,” says NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis.

Under the new voluntary commitment, effective October 4, NEMA members will cap the total mercury content in CFLs of less than 25W at 4 milligrams (mg) per unit. The total mercury content of CFLs that use 25W to 40W of electricity will be capped at 5 mg per unit.

Companies making the new commitment are listed at www.cfl-mercury.org. Companies that made the commitment at the March 2007 levels are listed at www.cfl-mercury.org/2007.

Mercury is an essential element in CFLs and allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. The additional milligram for lamps of 25W to 40W is needed to operate these higher-wattage lamps for higher light-output demands in the U.S.