LED bulbs and breakability

Last Updated on July 14, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

A longtime friend posted something on Facebook about CFL bulbs–namely, that in addition to containing mercury, that they also emit ultraviolet light. I thought everyone knew that fluorescent lights emit more UV than other types of lights and that wasn’t news, but maybe not.

I pointed out that LED bulbs don’t emit any UV light at all, and the proof is that bugs aren’t attracted to LED lights. They’ll come to an incandescent or a fluorescent light though.

He asked if LED lights pose any hazards if they break. I now have an answer.

I said I’ve never dropped an LED bulb, but I didn’t think one would break even if it did. But of course, if you did manage to break one, the hazards would be exactly the same as if you dropped any other piece of electronic equipment, like a DVD player. All that’s inside is a printed circuit board, some electronic components, and some solder, which is probably lead-free solder since none of the LED bulbs I’ve seen have any warning stickers on them. These days, anything still containing leaded solder has stickers about cancer warnings on them, and none of the LED bulbs I’ve purchased have that.

But I guess some people have been asking the question, because the packaging on some LED bulbs advertises them as nearly unbreakable.

I can attest to that now.

I ordered two LED bulbs this week. Normally I buy them locally, but these bulbs promised greater efficiency than anything I can buy locally, so I decided to try them. They came shipped to me in a small single-wall cardboard box, with no padding whatsoever. The bulbs themselves were in boxes made of slightly heavier cardboard than in your typical cereal box.

This package arrived via the US Postal Service. When I opened the boxes, the bulbs were completely unscathed and worked fine.

My kids have broken the tops off an LED bulb or two. The bulbs still worked fine. I just glued the tops back on.

LED bulbs have a few other nice advantages too. I like them.

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