The Hidden Dangers of CFL Bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs are a great way to save money and are a green solution to lighting your home. CLF bulbs are designed to last for several years. But eventually, they need to be replaced, either because they have burned out or due to breakage. It is important to know how to properly handle these light bulbs, as they contain mercury which can be harmful if it makes contact with skin or is ingested or inhaled.

If you have a bulb that has broken, first open a window and leave the room for at least 15 minutes. Remove pets from the room as well.

Next, put on some rubber gloves. Carefully scoop up the fragments with stiff paper or thin cardboard. Place the broken pieces in a sealable plastic bag. Wipe the area with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipes. Place these in the plastic bag as well.

If the breakage occurred on a hard surface, do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb. If the bulb has broken on a carpeted surface, remove all materials you can with the above method. To pick up small pieces and powder, use a sticky tape such as duct tape. If this does not remove all remaining bits, you can use the vacuum cleaner with some precautions. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and rinse the canister) and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealable plastic bag.

Once you have picked up all the debris, seal up the plastic bag and then place this bag in a second plastic bag. Place the bags in an outdoor trash container or in a protected place outdoors until the next trash pickup.

You will need to check the disposal regulation where you live to make sure you can dispose of this type of waste with your normal trash. Some places require you to take it to a community hazardous waste disposal center.


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