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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Mar 19;47(6):2542-7. doi: 10.1021/es303940p. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Unique Hg stable isotope signatures of compact fluorescent lamp-sourced Hg.

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School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA.


The recent widespread adoption of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) has increased their importance as a source of environmental Hg. Stable isotope analysis can identify the sources of environmental Hg, but the isotopic composition of Hg from CFL is not yet known. Results from analyses of CFL with a range of hours of use show that the Hg they contain is isotopically fractionated in a unique pattern during normal CFL operation. This fractionation is large by comparison to other known fractionating processes for Hg and has a distinctive, mass-independent signature, such that CFL Hg could be uniquely identified from other sources. The fractionation process described here may also explain anomalous fractionation of Hg isotopes in precipitation.

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