UV-LED: Mercury-Free Water Disinfection

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Mercury is a naturally occuring and highly toxic element; so toxic, in fact, the World Health Organization named it one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern. Even limited exposure can threaten the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, impairing function and often causing irreversible damage. Mercury pollution has devastating effects on the environment as well and of the estimated 5,500 - 8,900 tons of mercury emitted into the atmosphere each year, only 10 per cent is traced back to natural sources.

To address this global issue, in 2013 the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) introduced the Minamata Convention on Mercury. This international treaty is designed to control mercury emissions and protect human health and the environment; since its inception, nearly 130 countries have come together and begun making changes to phase out a number of mercury products by the year 2020.

Mercury may be present in a number of consumer products, from batteries and barometers to automotive parts and thermostats. Most relevant to the water purification industry, however, is its prevalence in ultraviolet (UV) lamps. UV light is a proven way to disinfect drinking water, and while increasing numbers of water treatment facilities are adopting this technology, many are unaware of the potential risks and performance limitations associated with relying on conventional UV lamps:

  • High maintenance and operational requirements put users at risk of mercury exposure in the event of a lamp breaking or other accident.

  • Because mercury lamps require a longer warm-up time to achieve stable, high-performance results, UV lamps run continuously—even when there is no water flow.

  • UV lamps have a short lifespan, and must be replaced regularly.


At Acuva, we are proud to be part of the mercury-free movement. Since LEDs don’t require mercury, all of our UV-LED water purification systems are fully compliant with the Minamata Convention, offering a practical, effective, and scalable alternative to UV disinfection without the use of hazardous UV lamps.


Learn more about how UV-LEDs will help #MakeMercuryHistory.