Less-toxic TVs: Electronics industry rapidly going mercury-free

A television set that is 37 percent thinner, uses 46 percent less energy -- and is made without the highly toxic heavy metal mercury? That sounds like too much eco-goodness rolled into one PR-friendly package. But this is precisely what consumer electronics giant Samsung is boasting in its new generation of super-thin, super bright LCD television sets. The sets are in a just-released lineup of LCDs from Samsung and are the first mercury-free sets to be included as part of a primary lineup, rather than as a limited edition boutique product.

Samsung's elimination of mercury from LCDs is part of a sea change in the industry as manufacturers switch from mercury-laden cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) lighting systems to more efficient and less toxic light-emitting diode (LED) systems that illuminate the glass screens and make images on the TVs visible and bright.