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View Diary: UPDATE x3: LED Lightbulbs Finally Ready for Prime Time! (282 comments)

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  •  The Sci Am article doesn't say that about landfill (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, JerryNA, Rashaverak

    It says: "LEDs are currently not considered toxic by law and can be disposed of in regular landfills."

    That was the only reference to landfills that I could find.

    The Scientific American article is embarrassingly bad, so people should stop quoting it. The comments on the Sci Am site say things like, "it's not 1st April, is it?" and " I can't think of anything that uses power that does not have copper."

    The one verifiable toxic claim made in the article is that "low-intensity red LEDs, which were found to contain up to eight times the amount of lead, a known neurotoxin, allowed by California state law"

    If that was true, you couldn't bloody well sell the LEDs could you?

    My theory is that they tested decades-old LEDs that were manufactured before current standards were in place.

    Red LEDs were the first that were widely available. The joke was that you could buy LEDs in three colors: Red, redder and reddest.

    I am sure that there are plenty of consumer products in people's homes that were made with decades-old LEDs, but I do not believe that these LED's are currently on sale as electronic parts. First of all, you are legally required to tell the buyer that these parts are full of lead. (Probably not for finished consumer junk in the USA)

    Secondly, the European Union enacted standards in 2006 restricting the hazardous content of electronic products. This was called the RoHS directive. (Pronounced, row hoss) Anyone who designs electronic or electrical devices knows this. It was one of the biggest changes to the industry in my career. What is the first thing on the list that they wanted to reduce? Lead.

    The European Union standard is sort of like Texas standards for textbooks. Who wants to design a product that you can't sell in the EU?

    RoHS allows one part per thousand of lead.

    Most LEDs, just like everything else, are made in China, so there is no reason to exclude them from your search.

    I just went to an electronics part supplier, Digikey, and did a query on the different white LEDs that they have in stock. It doesn't return an exact number but with 25 per page, there were 58 pages. I checked the box to limit this to RoHS compliant devices: again there were 58 pages. I limited it further to lead-free devices: again there were 58 pages.

    So if you see the CE symbol on an LED light bulb, it is guaranteed to be low in toxic metals. Sometimes there is a RoHS mark, too.

    There has been some fear mongering about nickel and copper in this diary's comments. You probably have copper fittings in the pipes that deliver your drinking water. Most silvery metals around you contain nickel. There is no directive to keep these metals out of landfills.

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