The use of mercury in neon signs will be banned under Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) regulations from the end of December next year according to the British Sign and Graphics Association.

The BSGA together with the European Sign Federation (ESF) had managed to obtain an exemption from the RoHS regulations in respect of cold cathode lamps using argon and mercury to create neon signs.

“The exemption is due to expire at the end of 2018 and, as any application for an extension must be submitted 18 months before the expiry date, it seems that the full ban on the use of mercury will come into effect on 31st December 2018,” said Mike Hall, Chair of the BSGA’s technical committee.

“This will mean that any production of cold cathode lamps using mercury must cease from that date and even repairs and maintenance involving the use of mercury will probably be affected.”

“We are not aware of anyone making an application to extend the exemption, but if anybody has knowledge of such an application, we’d like to hear from them,” he added.

“However, it does seem like the exemption will come to its natural end and the ban will be imposed.”

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