Compact fluorescent lights are green winners, but they can release a small amount of mercury if they break. Know the correct cleaning-up procedure.
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use 75% less energy than old-style incandescent bulbs and save you money in the long term: switching over to them is a no-brainer.
They do contain a small amount of mercury though, which is safely sealed inside. Unless, of course, they break – then it can vaporise, and as mercury is poisonous, you don't want to breathe it in, even a small amount.
If a CFL breaks:
Get everyone (pets too!) to vacate the room for about 10 minutes, and open the doors and windows to give it an airing out.
Then put all the broken pieces in a sealable container. Wearing disposable gloves is a good idea - put these in the sealable container too.
Remove any remaining fragments and dust with a damp cloth or sticky tape. Put used tape in the sealable container.
Don't vacuum unless you've already thoroughly cleaned up using the methods above first. Vacuuming may spread mercury-laden powder or vapor.
Promptly place the sealed container in the refuse bin
Wash your hands
Continue to air out the room for a few hours.
- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor, Health24, August 2012
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