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Policies and Procedures
Reduced Mercury Light Bulb Purchasing Policy


All fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, a highly persistent and toxic chemical that is accumulating at dangerous levels in humans, fish, and wildlife throughout the United States. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, through the adoption of this policy, has made a commitment to toxic material source reduction by requiring the use of low mercury light bulbs wherever feasible.


All purchased mercury-containing light bulbs shall meet the following:

  • Mercury content, on average of the overall number of light bulbs in use per building, shall be less than 80 picograms per lumen hour, determined by the following:

Mercury Content (pictograms/lumen hour) = (Total Hg/Total Lumen Hours) x 1012

Total Lumen Hours = Design Light Output (Lumens) x Rated Life per Bulb (Hours) x Quantity of Bulbs

Total Hg = Mercury Content of Bulb x Number of Bulbs

  • For each light bulb purchased the vendor shall supply an MSDS with the mercury content of the light bulb clearly stated.

All new light fixtures shall make use of low mercury light bulbs unless an exception is approved by the party responsible for policy implementation, SUNY ESF’s Physical Plant Operations and Maintenance Warehouse Manager; and provided that the new fixture does not limit the respective building’s ability to comply with this policy.


Picograms per Lumen Hour is a measure of the amount of mercury in a light bulb per unit of light delivered over its useful life.

Accepted on behalf of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Document ID#: ADM.025

Issue Date 10/22/2010

1Definitions from LEED Existing Buildings Version 2.0 Reference Guide Second Edition October 2006, Copyright 2006, U.S. Green Building Council.