Curious About CFL Light Bulb Cleanup

By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV

While I was vacationing in Florida, I saw a news report regarding the new fluorescent lights that will be replacing the incandescent bulbs.  According to the report, these new bulbs contain mercury, but if they break we’re simply to sweep up the remains and deposit them in the trash.  Isn’t this dangerous?  We’ve all seen the commercial “Don’t put mercury in the trash” regarding old batteries. – Mike, Milford

Thank goodness Mike didn’t see that report here on WBZ-TV, because that would be…wrong!

Watch Video:

You should never use a broom or a vacuum to clean up a broken CFL (those squiggly light bulbs) because  you could spread the mercury around.  Mercury is a neurotoxin…very bad.

In fact the first thing you should do is open a window and get out of the room for about 15 mins. and let it air out.  After that, wear disposable gloves and scoop up the fragments using stiff paper or cardboard.  Then use duct tape to pick up anything left, and do a final cleanup with a damp paper towel.  Put all that stuff into a glass jar or a plastic bag and then you can put it in the trash.  I know, I know, it doesn’t seem to make sense that you go through all that just to throw it in the trash…but that’s what the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection says you should do.

It’s even more complicated if the fragments land on a carpet.

So…here are 2 websites with even more detailed explanations of what to do:

Mass. DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s enough to make you use candles.

What do you think of the squiggly bulbs?

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Comments

One Comment

  1. DStein says:

    Don’t you just love what the eco-terrorists are doing to us? First they force us to use MTBE in gasoline so it supposedly burns cleaner. Too bad very small amounts of it leaking out from a gas station’s underground tanks poisoned public water supplies….and its use since has been discontinued.

    Now the same geniuses that brought us THAT debacle, are forcing us to give up non-lethal incandescent bulb and replace them with environmentally dangerous mercury filled bulbs. Makes absolutely no sense. But that doesn’t stop the eco-terrorists now running the EPA from trading one set of environmental issues for even worse ones. Putting American families at risk in their own homes unnecessarily. Now replacing a simple light bulb can become a hazardous materials event that can permanently harm your children.

    1. alanonthego says:

      Don’t forget these new CFL’s can caught fire. It happened to me in a desk lamp, luckily I was sitting there when this thing started to smoke and was able to turn off the lamp. What if it was in a lamp on a timer and I wasn’t home? Possible disaster. That’s when I did research on them and found out about the mercury and all the dangers. I have removed all CFL’s from my home and have stock piled incandescent light bulbs. I agree with you about the MTBE although this is much worse because almost every country in the world is forceing the change over. Can you image the long term environmental damage as these bulbs make their way in the landfills? Most cities don’t have recycling programs in place for them, so you know most as going to end up in landfills or breaking as people just throw them in the trash.

  2. Cynic says:

    If you want to read a book you turn on the light and then go find something else to do while you wait for it to warm up enpugh to see by.

  3. DRJBOS says:

    Why the fluoroscent tube lights are not treated with the same as the CFL? I see them on the curb with the trash for routine pick up. I think they also contain mercury powder coating just like the CFL.

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