The first package, a single-layer cardboard box, was the least effective in containing mercury vapor from broken fluorescent lamps.
The first package, a single cardboard box, was selected to represent the packages in which new fluorescent lamps are sold. Many customers reuse these packages for storing used lamps and eventually transporting the used lamps for disposal or recycling. In each of ten replicate experiments, each box was loaded with 40 used low-mercury T4 fluorescent lamps and then dropped and shaken in a test chamber until the lamps were broken. In the following six hours, the level of mercury vapor inside the test chamber was measured and recorded. The single-layer box was the least effective in containing mercury vapor of all three groups, with airborne mercury vapor levels in the test chamber exceeding all workplace exposure levels, as defined by state and federal authorities.

Configurations consisting of a layer of cardboard and a plastic bag also did not contain mercury vapor emissions below workplace exposure levels.
The second group of packages enhanced this single cardboard layer with a plastic bag. One box in this category featured an unsealed thin plastic liner, and the other cardboard box included a tape-sealed plastic bag. The third group of packages added a second layer of cardboard to the design, with the bags positioned between the two cardboard layers. This group also contained two package varieties: a double-box with a thicker, tape-sealed plastic bag, and a double box with a foil-plastic laminate bag containing a zip closure. Both of the packages in the third group performed better than the other packaging configurations, but out of all of the configurations, only the final package - the double box with the foil-plastic laminate bag - kept levels in the test chamber below all workplace exposure regulations and guidelines.

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