Last year about 300 million compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) were sold in the U.S., thanks to people being more concerned about global warming.
The only bad thing about CFLs is that they contain small amounts of mercury in them, so when they are thrown away and broken the toxic vapors from the mercury can be inhaled by humans. And that can be a health risk.
So despite their eco-friendliness, many people think that it is too risky to throw away these bulbs.
That is until engineering students and researchers at Brown University developed a material that could absorb the mercury.
How does it work?
What the students did was they created a prototype of a special lining that would be placed inside CFL packaging. That way if any bulbs broke inside the packaging the mercury would be absorbed safely. Or if the mercury spilled on the floor or a table, the packaging could be placed on top of it to absorb the liquid.
You can read more details about the story here.
If this material proves to work effectively, it could dramatically impact our environment, especially if the government approves energy-efficient lighting by 2012.
Let’s hope that the Brown University students continue improving this amazing discovery.