Health and Environmental warning

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Reef Maniac, 6 Jan 2008.

  1. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Hi All,

    Here's an extract from an article published by the BBC World news service, which could be of interest to us all:

    I've never thought about this before, but I believe that all the fluorescent lamps (T8's and the new T5's) AND metal halide lamps contain heavy metals, including mercury. Because our lamps are concentrated in small areas above our tanks, this could have potentially more dangerous implications for our health than the above report suggests for "normal" households. Also, I dare say that we replace our tank's lamps much more regularly than normal household lamps - how do we dispose of them? I must admit that until now, I've just thrown them into the rubbish bin...

    Hennie
     
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  3. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    Funnily enough, as part of my work as a facilities manager, i have to organise bulb changing, i then have to account for every bulb that the company used, to ensure that they are all recycled - whilst at home, the council have never demanded the same - and there is no way to dispose of them safely.
     
  4. sunburst

    sunburst

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    Me too. Just toss them.
    It would appear then that over time waste dumps would have mercury runoff that could percolate into our rivers/drinking water. Factories must go through a decent number in a year. Wonder what disciplines are in place for there disposal
     
  5. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    South Africa is way behind the rest of the world, when it comes to recycling.
     
  6. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Although the long-term environmental impact of us reefers is probably negligible compared to that of industry and business in general (as is our impact on the reefs, if compared to the "big polluters...), I do feel that we should be as diligent and responsible as possible. I will certainly try to dispose of my lamps in a more responsible manner (if at all possible...).

    My main concern, and reason for posting this link, though, is for our personal safety - especially for our fellow aquarists with young children. If a lamp is broken in a normal room the concentration of mercury and other toxic metals in the air would be pretty dilute, and not very dangerous. If an accident occured and (say) 4 T5's broke whilst you had your head inside the canopy, or whilst working in the "fish room", (for those few lucky people who have such a luxury...), the concentration level would be much higher. Also, like most long-term aquarists, I have broken more than a few fluorescent tubes in my lifetime, and the toxic effect is cumulative... and I thought that I were getting "dof" because of old age :whistling:

    Anyway, I don't think there's any reason to panic or to make drastic changes to our lighting - just be aware of the potential hazard.

    Hennie
     
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2008
  7. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Very interesting info Hennie, I must all my old tubes have a long wood box where they go to in the garage, i just hate the idea of some poor kid sifting through the garbage and cutting himself on my rubbish.

    What would be the right way to dispose of them I wonder?
     
  8. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    I honestly don't think so, the UK gov't makes lots of noises about recycling.. but that is it, there are no funds available to set up recycling centres, those that are set up have no real infrastructure - i was told by one company that it had hundreds of tons of paper that had nowhere to go, simply because nothing had been set up past collecting the paper - the local councils are threatening to fine us for putting too many rubbish bags out, but give us no alternative.
    It seems to me that, while the councils and our Gov't are happy to tell everyone what to do, they don't actually want to do anything themselves.
     
  9. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Are you SURE you're not living in South Africa :whistling:
     
  10. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    Sounds like it :lol:
     
  11. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    Nope, it's too damn cold here to be SA:lol:
     
  12. Galibore

    Galibore Retired Moderator

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    Very interesting topic.

    What do you guys suggest would be an appropriate method of disposal?
     
  13. KevinW

    KevinW

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    Attached Files:

  14. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    Find your local polititian, bend him over and insert;)
     
  15. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Thanks Kevin.

    Well, there you have it... we may buy and use fluorescent lamps, but we may not dispose of them...

    What do they (DWAF) consider to be large quantities?

    Hennie

    PS. It's shocking to read the bad English, and misspelt words, in the .pdf document - this being an official government document :nono:
     
  16. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    DWAF - what a name:whistling:
     
  17. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    DWAF - Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
     
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