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Friday, August 29, 2008

Compact Fluorescents

Free Clipart Picture of a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart Guide.com
Can we talk about compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)? I am all for saving the planet, have been since I was about 15.
I have recycled since 1993 when I had to haul my stuff to USF.
I hauled all of my recycling from Zephyrhills to Carrollwood.
I reduce, reuse, recycle.
I use reusable bags at the stores.
I take my hazardous materials to a dropoff location on the first Saturday of the month
I drive a gas guzzler & hate it (get a Volkswagen-you'll love it)
I changed to compact fluorescent light bulbs

This is where I have to put the breaks on. Two nights ago while changing a light bulb in my 4 month old son's room I broke a CFL. Did you know they contain mercury-that stuff that causes neurological problems, linked to autism & a host of other problems. Did you know you have to treat it as a hazardous spill? Here is the cleanup instructions from the EPA

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 Exit EPA Disclaimer 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.


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.

So, after doing all of this & ventilating the room for 2 days we now HOPE all is clear. I also spent yesterday on the phone with the health department finding out if the cleanup measures passed the mercury into my breastmilk. So, please use the energy sipping bulbs...just use them outside!

4 comments:

Cheryl said...

Holy Crap batman! I got exhausted just reading the instructions. I can't imagine having to actually DO them!

Hope your milk passes and things are fine from now on.

Perhaps you should go with Candles.?

Nicole said...

Candles would definitely be safer!

Denise said...

Wow... Learn something everyday.

Hope all is okay with your milk.

Hope to talk soon!

Mads said...

thanx so much aunt nikki i just broke one today i wouldnt have known what to do! i was going to go to the website on the box but mom told me that you broke one too and that you had all the instructions on your blog! so greatful you did.