Editor Sam Strike email@example.com
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7:40 pm on Wednesday, March 7, 2012
How should I clean up a broken fluorescent bulb?
Fluorescent light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. When a fluorescent bulb breaks in your home, some of this mercury is released as mercury vapor. To minimize exposure to mercury vapor, EPA recommends that residents follow cleanup and disposal steps. A cleanup overview is described
below; please visit epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html for more information.
CLEANUP AND DISPOSAL OVERVIEW
The most important steps to reduce exposure to mercury vapor from a broken bulb are:
1. Before cleanup
a. Have people and pets leave the room.
b. Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor
c. Shut off the central forced air heating/air conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.
d. Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulb.
2. During cleanup
a. Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder.
b. Place cleanup materials in a sealable container.
3. After cleanup
a. Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or
protected area until materials can be disposed of properly. Avoid leaving any bulb
fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
b. For several hours, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the
H&AC system shut off.
2:17 pm on Sunday, April 22, 2012
Good advice, Cooke, and a helpful reminder why I prefer (and have stocked up on) incandescent bulbs in various wattages. I don't break many bulbs, but it's nice to know that when I do, I'm not faced with a hazmat situation.
With any luck, the next Congress will reverse the ridiculous ban on incandescent bulbs. It will be too late to save American jobs related to their manufacture (sorry -- they've gone to China), but at least the consumer will once again have choice.
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