[887] LEDs are hazardous waste

Date: February 14th, 2011 | Comments : [2] | Categories: DIY.

Hazardous LEDs
Stock up on LEDs now because it is only a matter of time before they are declared hazardous waste and then outlawed… okay, maybe that is a bit reactionary, but researchers at the University of California did a study on the metal content of LEDs (light emitting didoes) and found that there were levels of metals in LEDs that exceeded California regulatory limits. Those metals included copper, lead, nickel, and silver.


The full report is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/48605520/LEDs

One thing to consider is that the US EPA method for detecting metal levels in leachates requires milling the solid substance until its particle size is less than 9.5mm, soaking the particles in an appropriate solvent, usually strong acids, and retrieving the liquid samples in a bottle extractor. The liquid is then analyzed for metals.

Since refuse in landfills are not exposed to concentrated nitric acid, do you think this is a real-world evaluation?

My favorite part of the article is “If an LED light bulb breaks at home, Ogunseitan suggested using a special broom to clean it up, as well as wearing gloves and a mask.” Better advice is to refrain from beating an LED bulb with a hammer so that the hard polymer body of the LED will not crack and the encapsulated metals will not be exposed.


2 Responses to “LEDs are hazardous waste”

[2067] dlp Says: 3:28 pm, February 14th, 2011

Ha. In all my years of working with leds never once have I broken one open. In fact, I’ve never even wanted to. No special broom for me! In truth, as I disconnect and tape over them I find myself wishing my electronic gear had fewer led indicators. Especially those darn overbright blue ones.

[2068] brentonlatour Says: 8:39 pm, February 14th, 2011

One of my first experiences with LEDs resulted in one breaking. I was about 10 and experimenting with my fathers electronics. I figured the LEDs were like the flashlight bulbs and I touched the leads to a 9V battery and the LED lit brightly and then simultaneously sparked and popped the polymer casing apart. Of course I repeated the experiment for posterity and because it was so cool. Not saying any of this was smart or safe but yeah, they can break open.


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