German environmental aid plans lawsuit against Hornbach

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Environmental aid: Exceeding the mercury limit values ​​in energy-saving lamps near Hornbach

After the German Environment Aid. (DUH) has found that the mercury limit values ​​for the energy-saving lamps of its own brand "Flair Energy" from the hardware store chain Hornbach have been significantly exceeded, the environmental association is now planning to file a lawsuit against the hardware store chain at the Landau district court.

According to its own press release, Hornbach responded immediately to the evidence that the limit values ​​in the energy-saving lamps were exceeded, removed the "Flair Energy" compact fluorescent lamps from the market and signed a cease and desist declaration which, according to the company, will prevent "the very excesses that were criticized by the association" in the future should. But as is so often the case, the devil is in the details. Because the hardware store chain had adapted the text of the cease-and-desist declaration originally requested by the DUH, so that it should only be valid for the "Flair Energy" energy-saving lamps. However, the environmental association demanded compliance with the limit values ​​for all energy-saving lamps placed on the market.

Harmful mercury in energy saving lamps
As explained by Thomas Fischer of the German Environmental Aid in an interview with "Heilpraxisnet", the dealers are responsible for complying with the mercury limit values ​​for the energy-saving lamps that are placed on the market. After the product tests in the "Flair Energy" compact fluorescent lamps from Hornbach had clearly exceeded the permissible mercury values, the DUH therefore asked the hardware store chain to issue a comprehensive declaration of omission. All tested "Flair Energy" energy-saving lamps contained more than the legally permitted five milligrams of toxic mercury, the maximum was even 13 milligrams, reported the German environmental aid. Following the investigation, the DIY store chain was asked by the DUH to immediately take the energy-saving lamps off the market and to sign a cease-and-desist declaration as a "guarantee for compliance with the mercury limit values ​​for all energy-saving lamps that the DIY store chain places on the market". explained Thomas Fischer.

Lawsuit for non-compliance with environmental laws planned
Hornbach then actually signed an injunction, but the text has been slightly adjusted, said Thomas Fischer of the DUH. Instead of guaranteeing compliance with the limit values ​​for all energy-saving lamps offered, Hornbach limited the declaration of cease and desist to the lamps for which the DUH has already demonstrated that the mercury limit values ​​have been exceeded in an impermissible manner. According to Thomas Fischer, this does not mean that the energy-saving lamps that have been withdrawn from the market can simply be replaced by a new product. The DUH therefore judges the modified cease-and-desist declaration of the hardware store chain as a refusal to cooperate and, according to its own statements, will file a lawsuit for "non-compliance with environmental laws" at the Landau district court.

Compliance with the mercury limit values ​​is technically not a problem
The trust in Hornbach is rather low at this point, as the DIY chain had also assured in the run-up to the product tests that its own quality management ensured compliance with the limit values ​​for all energy-saving lamps offered - but that was not the case, explained the DUH. The refusal of Hornbach, which becomes clear with the adjusted declaration of cease and desist, "to make a binding promise in future to only sell energy-saving lamps that meet the legal maximum values ​​for mercury" is, in the opinion of the DUH federal director Jürgen Resch, "unacceptable". Especially since it is technically relatively easy to ensure compliance with the limit values. According to the DUH, only the outdated manufacturing methods of energy-saving lamps still exceed the mercury limit values. However, modern production processes enable mercury values ​​of around two milligrams, which is significantly below the limit of five milligrams for energy-saving lamps that apply in Germany. Thus, the hardware store chain should actually be able to guarantee compliance with the mercury limit values ​​in the interests of consumers for all energy-saving lamps offered, the DUH explained.

Hornbach denies the allegations of the German environmental aid
To react only when independent organizations prove that the limit values ​​for a certain product have been exceeded and then only to sign a declaration of cease-and-desist is a rather inappropriate approach in the DIY chain. In principle, Hornbach's claim to perfect products should also apply to the entire range of products, so a corresponding written guarantee in the form of the required cease and desist declaration would not be a problem. The reason why Hornbach modified the text and limited it only to the "Flair Energy" compact fluorescent lamps, explains the group's press spokeswoman, Dr. Ursula Dauth, in her current press release on the DUH allegations. Instead, the DUH reports scandalous behavior and the environmental association's attempt to “distinguish itself through the incorrect presentation of facts,” according to the wording in the Hornbach press release. In doing so, it was accepted to "sustainably damage a company," according to the group's statement. The DUH, on the other hand, is of the opinion that Hornbach has to ascribe the damage itself. (fp)

Also read:
Toxic vapors from energy saving lamps
Environmental protection is health protection
Increased ozone levels endanger health
Children: Reduced growth through coal heating

Image: Ernst Rose / (illustration does not show a Hornbach energy-saving lamp)

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