An Update on the Neon Industry – The Future of Neon

20 September 2018 By Jessica Jones

At Neon Creations, we aren’t just passionate about making your perfect neon sign; we also keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to industry updates and important news that affects both us and our customers. We have recently been contacted by a few existing and potential clients who are concerned by the news they have heard that neon signs are about to be heavily affected, or even banned, under new legislation.

Many people use neon signs in their restaurants, bars, shops and even homes. They’ve become a huge part of emerging interior design trends, and more and more people are taking advantage of the beautiful visual effect they can create.

With that in mind, there has been some developments within the industry that have raised some concerns, particularly in regards to the potential ban on the use of mercury. People have become worried that these developments mean that neon signs will soon be obsolete. However, it is important to note that there is only a miniscule amount of mercury used in each section of neon.

Neon signs have been around for more than 100 years without any risk of being banned, so if you’re thinking of buying one, be reassured that they are not a dangerous purchase.

With that being said, we are here to help you understand what the new regulations are, and what they mean for the future of neon.

RoHS regulations: what do they mean?

The Restriction of Hazardous Substance (RoHS) has released regulations that mean the use of mercury in neon signs will be banned. This would mean that neon signs moving forward could only be red, pink, amber or purple in colour. The ban is due to come into effect in December 2018, with no application for an extension having been submitted.

However, after further consultation over the regulations, the British Sign and Graphics Association (BSGA) has found that this isn’t as devastating to the industry as you might think. In other words, if you were thinking about buying a neon sign; you still can!

It is true that low voltage, cold cathode lighting lamps containing mercury will no longer be produced after December 2018. However, high voltage signs using mercury are currently outside the scope of the RoHS regulations, as well as large installations.

High voltage signs and large neon installations

If a neon sign uses more than 1000V to drive the lamps, the RoHS regulations and ban does not apply. This is particularly reassuring for ourselves and fans of neon, as the majority of neon sign installations fall into this category.

This means you are still able to buy neon signs, and we’re still able to create them in a vast range of colours too. Our signs fall outside of the ban, and they are completely safe. It’s important that you understand that, for fear of missing out on a great neon sign because of miscommunication.

What happens next?

The BSGA and its European counterpart, the European Sign Federation (ESF) are working together to protect the larger  installations from being included in the ban. Defending the use of mercury in neon signs is an important part of this, with the aim of demonstrating to the European Authorities that neon signs need not be included within the mercury ban.

Neon Creations are very responsible in the way in which we use mercury within our neon signs, and the processes we use in our workshop.

The responsibility now lies with those who make, install or sell neon signs to continue protecting it as an industry. As a customer, it is important for you to be aware of this too so that you can get involved or take action if you wish.

If you have any questions about this, or you’re still worried about the future of the industry, please get in touch with us today!

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