The bottom line on CFLs and mercury

Just aired on Yahoo.

Don’t let reports of mercury in CFLs discourage you from using energy-efficient light bulbs. While it’s true that the bulbs do contain tiny amounts of mercury, it’s also important to remember that problems only arise when bulbs break at home (and elsewhere) or in a landfill.
Here’s how to responsibly and effectively deal with both issues.

Recycling is a cinch now that all Home Depot and Ikea stores offer free take-back programs. If you don’t live near one of these retailers, search Earth 911’s database for nearby recyclers.

Clean Up

No need to panic if a bulb breaks. Just follow these strategies from the Environmental Protection Agency and a study conducted by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection.

  • Air out the room. Open the windows and have everyone leave for 15 minutes. Be careful not to walk through the breakage on your way out. Close the door behind you. Turn off central air-conditioning/heating system if you have one.
  • Carefully gather glass pieces and powder with cardboard or other stiff paper such as index or playing cards. Use duct tape, or other sticky tape, to pick up remaining small glass and powder. Place everything in a glass jar with a metal lid or a sealed plastic bag. You might want to use disposable rubber gloves if you have them.
  • If you’re cleaning up a floor or other hard surface, use damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes to wipe the area. Never vacuum or sweep with a broom because you run the risk of increasing mercury exposure.
  • The federal EPA says, if you’re dealing with a carpet or rug and have to vacuum the area where the bulb broke, you should remove the bag when you’re done and place it in a sealed plastic bag. Maine’s EPA suggests throwing out area rugs or removing parts of carpet as an added precaution. If you keep rugs, then good ventilation is essential the next several times you vacuum. Open windows and turn off you’re your central air-conditioning/heating system before and after vacuuming.
  • Throw away any clothing or bedding that came into direct contact with broken glass or powder. Washing may contaminate your machine and pollute sewage. You can wash clothing that was in the room, but not in direct contact with the broken bulb. Wipe down shoes with damp towels or wet wipes and put them in a sealed jar or bag.
  • Immediately place all your clean-up materials outside. Wash your hands and face thoroughly. Check with your local government to see how to dispose of broken bulbs. In some cases you can dispose of it with your normal trash pick-up, but recycling is preferable.

Marcel :):smiley:

All that energy to clean up a broken bulb…this is exactly why people will not do it. We may all have to switch to them but trust me…people are simply going to get the vaccum out and suck it up.

The checklist itself is crazy;
turn off hvac and air our room…means nothing if that room happens to have positive pressure on that side of the house…now it get distributed throughout the whole house.

More glass and plastic used to clean up something that is in fact harmful…

Don’t vaccum…just throw away the carpet also…more waste going into landfills…

Matter of fact you should throw away anything that has come into contact with the powder…being that the particles are very fine…that can range from anything from your mattresses - couch…all going into the land fill.

Now let use more gas to take the stuff there…

Now how much are we really saving on using this stupid bulbs???

Just another example of government intervention into something they have not researched thoroughly…imagine what it would have been like if Al Gore would have won…oh well, the democrat party will get their chance again to show how asinine they are…the last 2 years of them being in control of congress has worked out real well…(laugh)…ala subprime fiasco.

The latest is that they are not arguing over how to spend OUR billions of dollars…evidently they have changed their mind…I’m shocked!!!..they actually lied to us…but I digress.

Sorry Marcel, but I will not use these bulb until there are no other choices…and when I do break one, I will bust out the vaccum and go about my business.

We all are going to die of something…be it the additives put into our food or the crap in our air…


I had to laugh Jeff, because what you said has a lot of truth to it.
Too much work for people.
First of all, most people will not have read the background on the product and won’t think twice about clean-up.
And your right, the first thing they will do on a broken one is get the vacumn.
Every single one will end up in the landfill like it does now.

It amazes me to see all these articles on the safe handling of the CFL bulbs.
Reminds me of the OSHA Horse cartoon I saw one day with all it’s safety rigging. :wink:

Marcel :):smiley:

this one :roll:

LOL, good one Barry!

Thanks Barry, that is exactly what I was referring too!
Had it in print years ago and lost it.
I used to post it on my Field Office Wall for a while, but OSHA representatives did not find it amussing. :wink:

Marcel :):smiley:

How much was that fine? :frowning:

I am looking forward to LED technology for household lighting. There are a couple of bulbs out now, but they are too expensive.

Luckily Barry, I have known the OSHA Rep. for this State well over 30 years, so he knows we have a good site and laughs about it.

Marcel :):smiley: