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What To Do When a Compact Fluorescent Breaks! January 8, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Controversial information, How to about lighting.
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mercuryglob

Mercury is a common element found many household items from thermometers to fluorescents

 

Zoinks! Its Dr. Z here to help you with your lightbulbs! Much has been said about what you should do if a compact fluorescent bulb breaks..Unfortunately lots of misinformation has been out there about what to do about clean up and mercury. In case you don’t know all fluorescent lights contain a small amount of mercury in them to aid in the production of light. Now mercury is a poisonous substance that can be harmful to human and ecological health so you want don’t want take it for granted, but it is certainly not on the level of nucleur waste like some goofballs think(No it does NOT take $2000 to clean up a Compact Fluorescent). So to clear things up I decided to referance the people who now how to keep it clean. The EPA (Enviromental Protection Agency) On their website the EPA states :

What to Do if a Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are lighting more homes than ever before, and EPA is encouraging Americans to use and recycle them safely. Carefully recycling CFLs prevents the release of mercury into the environment and allows for the reuse of glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights.

EPA is continually reviewing its clean-up and disposal recommendations for CFLs to ensure that the Agency presents the most up-to-date information for consumers and businesses. Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection released a CFL breakage study report on February 25, 2008. EPA has conducted an initial review of this study and, as a result of this review, we have updated the CFL cleanup instructions below.

Pending the completion of a full review of the Maine study, EPA will determine whether additional changes to the cleanup recommendations are warranted. The agency plans to conduct its own study on CFLs after thorough review of the Maine study.
Frequently Asked Questions about Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Mercury (PDF) (2 pp., 71K, About PDF)

Learn more about recycling and disposal options for fluorescents

Find fluorescent light bulb recycling programs in your area

Learn more about compact fluorescent light bulbs from the ENERGY STAR program
Fluorescent light bulbs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal below. Please also read the information on this page about what never to do with a mercury spill.

Before Clean-up: Air Out the Room

Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces

Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug

Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.
Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials

If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb.
If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.
Disposal of Clean-up Materials

Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.
Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.
Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.
Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

http://www.epa.gov/mercury/spills/index.htm#fluorescent

Holy Cats! They are nothing if not thorough aren’t they? Well until next time!

Git Lit and Stay Lit

Dr. Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

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Comments»

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