A new study (by UC Irvine’s Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention) discovered that LED light bulbs (inorganic-LEDs) contain unsafe levels of carcinogenic toxins. While LEDs do not contain mercury (like in CFL lamps), they do contain lead, arsenic and other unsafe chemicals. This means that it's dangerous to break a LED bulb, and just extrating those toxins from the earth is a destructive process.

The research found that large LEDs contain more toxins than small LEDs - but even low intensity red LED bulbs contains eight times the level of lead allowed under California state law. They state that while LEDs are great in power efficiency - we still need to find a really safe new light source. Perhaps OLEDs will be the answer?




While the original publication of this study is interesting to look at, the way this was reported in the news is waaaay off.

First of all, how on earth do you break an LED bulb by accident? It's solid epoxy! Secondly, the report studies only cheap 5mm LEDs and not high-end HBLEDs. Thirdly, most of the lead it's talking about is coming from non-lead-free solder that is used in cheap components from untrustworthy sources. This same mistake can happen in the OLED industry by the way.

Merck - Advancing Display, Advancing LifeMerck - Advancing Display, Advancing Life