Why VaporLokCapture

Why_vaporlok

Almost all packaging for fluorescent lamps and CFLs is not designed to prevent the lamps or bulbs from breaking. And most recycling containers leak mercury vapor if the lamps or bulbs are broken inside the container. Because recycling containers are typically opened and closed repeatedly to add additional lamps or bulbs, opening a package containing broken fluorescent lamps and/or CFLs presents a significant risk of mercury vapor exposure, potentially rising well above both the OSHA 8-hour permissible exposure limit of 100 ug/m3 and the NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) IDLH (immediately dangerous to life and health) level of 10,000 ug/m3. Our patent-pending, new VaporLokCapture™ technology significantly minimizes this risk, effectively adsorbing and capturing the mercury vapor. To provide an enhanced layer of protection against incidental mercury exposure, VaporLokCapture™ adsorbs mercury vapor—achieving more than 95% percent mercury vapor reduction within the container. With this design, approximately 60 percent vapor reduction is achieved in as little as 15 minutes after lamp breakage, keeping vapor levels below the NIOSH IDLH guideline.

Using a proprietary process, the patent-pending adsorbent is manufactured with powdered activated carbon and inert chemicals. When lamps or CFLs break, the adsorbent immediately begins to capture the mercury vapor. In addition to broken lamps, VaporLokCapture™ is designed to adsorb mercury vapor from any device or product containing mercury. View a short animated depiction of this process.

Test Procedures

NUCON International Inc., a world-wide leader in providing gas, vapor and liquid phase adsorption solutions to the Nuclear Power and other industries did the testing on the new VaporLokCapture™ product. All tests were conducted by breaking 40 T-8 lamps in a WM LampTracker four-foot long package using a mercury vapor containment bag (volume is approx. four cubic feet). The tests were conducted using a custom built chamber measuring 5 x 2 x 2 feet (volume of approx. 10 cubic feet). While the original study focused on measuring mercury vapor levels outside of the package (i.e. measuring vapor leakage), NUCON’s test methodology was designed to measure mercury vapor levels both inside and outside the package. Two LUMEX mercury analyzers were used to take continuous vapor readings inside the package and outside the package (but inside the test chamber). The initial control tests yielded extremely high and dangerous vapor readings inside the package. This confirmed the need to develop an adsorbent technology that could capture this vapor before it can escape the package.

The containers were then modified through the addition of adsorbant foam pads. The pads were impregnated with powdered, activated carbon and reacted with proprietary inert chemicals. The pads were then attached to the flaps of the inner box, and the identical tests were conducted.

Detailed Testing Results

When no absorbent was used in the package, the tests in NUCON’s study found interior vapor levels to exceed health and safety exposure limits and guidelines. Within the packaging, if 40 lamps break, vapor levels can range anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3). These levels are over 150 to 300 times OSHA’s 8 hour PEL.

Detailed Testing Results

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Figure above shows the results of the testing without the absorbent in a 40-lamp breakage with vapor readings taken inside the package. The blue line represents continuous vapor readings inside the package without the adsorbant. As can be seen, the vapor levels rapidly rise above both the OSHA 8 hour PEL of 100 ug/m3 and the NIOSH IDLH level (immediately dangerous to life and health) of 10,000 ug/m3.


Detailed Testing Results

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The bar graph above illustrates the effectiveness of the proprietary absorbent compared to the control. The figure shows the vapor readings at certain points in time (from 15 minutes to 24 hour) as compared to the control, illustrating the rapid effectiveness of the absorbent in reducing vapor levels.

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