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  1. #1

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    Defunct Batteries

    Can anyone explain to me the reasoning behind the discontinuation of the 1.35V mercury cell batteries? No one has ever been able to give me a definitive answer. The general reply to asking is mercury is poisonous. Agreed, mercury is poisonous but there again so is Lithium, so is lead, which are both used in currently available batteries.

    They ban mercury in thermometers too (lucky I still have a couple). Then they go and try to force us to use low power consumption light bulbs which are full of mercury. OK not in it's normal liquid metal form but as Mercury oxide and probably just as dangerous. Then again fillings in teeth are still in the main comprised of a form of mercury. It just doesn't make sense to me.

    Is it financial I wonder? But there would not be a total ban if it were just financial - would there?

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    The use of Mercury in batteries was banned, there were some cases of serious cntamination getting into the food chain and so they were phased out.

    Ian

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    That seems to be a bit of a fudge all round. The mercury in light bulbs are just as likely to get there. Currently my local authority don't offer any facility for the disposal of fluorescent tubes or the low energy bulbs other than dumping them as landfill.

    Personally, I think this is another idea thought up to appease someone else who has interests elsewhere.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMbikerider View Post
    Can anyone explain to me the reasoning behind the discontinuation of the 1.35V mercury cell batteries? No one has ever been able to give me a definitive answer. The general reply to asking is mercury is poisonous. Agreed, mercury is poisonous but there again so is Lithium, so is lead, which are both used in currently available batteries.

    They ban mercury in thermometers too (lucky I still have a couple). Then they go and try to force us to use low power consumption light bulbs which are full of mercury. OK not in it's normal liquid metal form but as Mercury oxide and probably just as dangerous. Then again fillings in teeth are still in the main comprised of a form of mercury. It just doesn't make sense to me.

    Is it financial I wonder? But there would not be a total ban if it were just financial - would there?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_Directive
    Ben

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMbikerider View Post
    That seems to be a bit of a fudge all round. The mercury in light bulbs are just as likely to get there. Currently my local authority don't offer any facility for the disposal of fluorescent tubes or the low energy bulbs other than dumping them as landfill.

    Personally, I think this is another idea thought up to appease someone else who has interests elsewhere.
    The "Battery Directive" seems reasonable IMHO. There are some nasty chemicals in batteries generally (I've just turned out 4 D-size cells for recycling, which weigh nearly 500gm, and would have gone into landfill a few years ago!). And it seems that they can be (relatively) easily and econcomically recycled.

    Mercury in low-energy bulbs seems more of a fudge...almost impossible to recycle, and complex and energy-consuming to make. Perhaps a quick political expediency to appear to save consumers energy costs (vote for us, we're so "green"?) , rather than wait a few years for better alternatives (LED?) to be developed.

  6. #6
    CGW
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    The ban went into effect in 2000. One also has to ask about demand. Cameras and light meters that used mercury cells were already relics in 2000, more so now. Plenty of workarounds available.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMbikerider View Post
    That seems to be a bit of a fudge all round. The mercury in light bulbs are just as likely to get there. Currently my local authority don't offer any facility for the disposal of fluorescent tubes or the low energy bulbs other than dumping them as landfill.

    Personally, I think this is another idea thought up to appease someone else who has interests elsewhere.
    That's about right. I have a US gov't. publication dated 1955 which describes flourescent lamps a hazardous waste. However, the mercury cells were a real problem. Who here remembers when mercury D cells were available for meters and other instruments?

  8. #8
    mjs
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    My wife once had an old (1920's or 30's, as I recall,) book of activities for boys. One of them started out with "Go to the drug store and buy two pounds of mercury. Then ask your mom for one of her pans large enough to hold the mercury...

    Ah, the good old days...

    Mike
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming– “Wow! What a Ride!”

    — Hunter S. Thompson

  9. #9
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    There is much more mercury in batteries than in CFLs. Proponents of CFLs say their mercury content is like the dot at the end of a sentence. I remember using a vise to squeeze drops of liquid mercury out of a dead 9 Volt mercury battery to improvise a mercury switch from a neon lamp.

    Many bans are the result of well-meaning people with more enthusiasm than knowledge. A majority of the population can be led or misled by charismatic leaders with an unwise agenda. Incandescent lighting is superior to flourescent lamps in some applications, and inferior in others. Performance is sometimes more important than efficiency. The choice should be up to educated consumers, not to a few legislators.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjs View Post
    My wife once had an old (1920's or 30's, as I recall,) book of activities for boys. One of them started out with "Go to the drug store and buy two pounds of mercury. Then ask your mom for one of her pans large enough to hold the mercury...

    Mike
    AND TWO OR THREE HOT DOGS.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.



 

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