CFL bulb with safety skin keeps mercury inside

ArmorLite is a new CFL bulb by ClearLite with a safety coating. It contains mercury and shattered glass if the bulb is smashed.


Florida-based lighting company ClearLite is introducing a new CFL bulb with an unbreakable safety shell that prevents mercury from escaping, a feature that addresses some health concerns with CFLs.

The SX-4000 silicone skin remains intact even if the ArmorLite bulb inside shatters, according to ClearLite, which is rolling out its bulb in December and January.

Not everyone is aware of the danger of broken CFLs. Because of the small amount of mercury in them, current EPA guidelines call for evacuating people and pets from the area where a bulb has shattered.


They also call for the room to be aired out for 15 minutes and the air conditioning to be shut off.

The 9-watt (40-watt equivalent) and 14-watt (60-watt equivalent) ArmorLite bulbs look somewhat like incandescents and can be used for 10,000 hours, according to ClearLite. They contain amalgam, an alloy of mercury, in solid form.

CFLs can usually be recycled at retailers or municipal hazardous waste programs, though the silicone skin in ArmorLite bulbs will require extra steps or a special program to process.

The 800-lumen bulbs are Energy Star-rated and will be available in "natural soft white" and "natural brite white" varieties, with a suggested retail price of $7.99.

The silicone skin may have some effect on the perceived color of the light. There's limited color temperature information on this page, and a bit more information about ClearLite bulbs in this video.

ClearLite plans to produce other varieties of ArmorLite bulbs such as a bathroom-use vanity globe. Samples of the A-shape bulb are already available.

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