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Australia drops mercury levels in fluorescent lighting

29May

Australia drops mercury levels in fluorescent lighting

Lighting Determinations to be replaced  

The E3 Program will reduce allowed mercury levels in compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) in Australia, in order to meet the requirement of the Minamata Mercury Convention and align with levels set by major markets. This decision follows stakeholder consultation in September and October 2016, which indicated proposed changes would have a minor impact on industry.

Summary

For CFLs less than 30W, the maximum mercury content of 5 mg is reduced to 2.5 mg. The maximum mercury content of 5 mg in CFLs 30W and over remains unchanged. The European Union also has these requirement in place.

For linear fluorescent lamps (triphosphor <60W), the maximum mercury content of 15 mg is decreased to meet the Minamata Convention on Mercury specified maximum level of 5 mg for triphosphor linear fluorescent lamps <60W.

Next steps

To implement these changes, replacement Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) CFL and LFL Determinations are expected to be in place by the end of June 2017. The requirements will become mandatory six months after date of publication. This will allow time for industry to comply with the amendments.

Once the changes are in force, existing stock that doesn’t comply with proposed mercury limits would be grandfathered (until their registration has ceased) and could continue to be sold until exhausted. However, no supply of stock (exceeding the maximum limits) imported after the new Determination takes effect would be permitted. Products where the registration has expired and requires re-registering would need to be registered in compliance with new mercury limits. New registrations for existing registered products, already within the proposed limits, would not be required. As the majority of products (approximately 80 per cent) are already within proposed limits, this will not impact the majority of suppliers.