My Green Lab
- Tell us about what My Green Lab does. What is My Green Lab’s mission?
- My Green Lab is a California-based non-profit dedicated to the establishment of safe, sustainable laboratories. While we are interested in all aspects of sustainability, we have chosen to focus on three key areas in which we can have the greatest immediate impact—energy, water, and waste. To affect institution-wide change in these areas we engage stakeholders at all levels within an organization.
- Why is it important for a laboratory to be mercury-free?
- It is a well-known fact that mercury is highly toxic. Not only is direct mercury exposure toxic to humans, but mercury is also detrimental to our food and water supply. The dangers of mercury in the lab have been widely recognized, and as a result programs to remove mercury thermometers from laboratories have been in existence for many years. Most people don’t know that the largest source of mercury in most labs, especially those that do not use mercury thermometers, is from the bulbs used in fluorescence microscopy. In fact, very few people actually realize that the bulbs they are using contain mercury; all arc lamps, including both mercury and metal halide bulbs, contain mercury. Thus the bulbs often end up in trash headed for the landfill, rather than disposed of as hazardous waste. This makes the risk of exposure much higher for waste management workers, and it increases our risk of mercury contaminating the water supply and/or food chain.
- How is the relationship between Lumencor and My Green Lab helping to foster green and sustainable lab practices?
- Lumencor’s generous support as a corporate sponsor of My Green Lab has enabled us to bring the message of sustainability in the form of clean lighting practices to labs across the state of California. We have addressed students, postdocs, PIs, sustainability directors, EH&S and facility members, and other key stakeholders about environmental responsibility in the lab. We are also working with numerous manufacturers to benchmark energy efficient equipment for laboratories. The testing we’ve done has shown that Lumencor’s light sources are not only mercury free but also energy efficient.
- Allison Paradise
- Executive Director