CFL Comparison

MYTH: “You should be more concerned about the amount of mercury in the Compact Florescent Light (CFL) bulbs you have in your home than the amount coming out of a crematory”


Please See epafactsheet-cfl


According to the EPA, One CFL Bulb contains about 4 mg (milligrams) of Mercury. Some sources have estimated the levels at 5 mg. Since 4 mg may be a conservative number, for this purpose I have both numbers represented in the following:

1 gram = 1000 milligrams

4mg goes into 1000 250 times, so for every gram of mercury the equivalent is 250 CFL Bulbs.

If you use the 5mg/CFL estimate the equivalent is 200 Bulbs

According to CANA (Crematory Association of North America) in 2010 the average crematory burns approximately 400 bodies per year.

According to John Reindl’s (2015 Summary of References on Mercury Emissions from Crematoria) extensive research the average amount of mercury per corpse is 2.9 grams. This is widely accepted as a conservative number.

According to the EPA, exposures over 25 g annually is likely to cause serious health complications. No safe level of exposure to mercury has ever been established. Using these data points one can conclude the following:

The average crematory emits approximately 1200g of mercury annually.

This is the equivalent of 300,000 CFL bulbs using the 4 gram per bulb estimate


240,000 CFL bulbs using the 5g per bulb estimate.

Either way, that’s a lot of lightbulbs!


What Harm Can One Crematory Cause

I also found other possible estimates of mercury contained in CFL’s that are significantly lower. According to GE Spiral Bulbs contain far less mercury. 0.8-0.9 mg per bulb.



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