This blog is intended as a public service. I don’t think anyone appreciates how dangerous the mercury in these things can be. I am reprinting guidelines on what to do if you break one. THIS SHOULD BE REQUIRED ON EVERY PACKAGE, but no, clearly some lobbyist has convinced the government that putting this up on some obscure websites is adequate notice. My informal polling tells me no one is aware of these potential toxic bombs in their home. Of course all of Europe is converting as well. Note how many of these are made by Phillips. This has nothing to do with the quantity people will just throw in the trash ultimately threatening to put mercury into the water supply. Interesting to note it is illegal for CA corporations not to use a toxic waste disposal facility for their florescent’s, but the public can just throw them away.
OF course the right answer, is to completely skip over this technology and hold out for LED based light bulbs. They are more efficient than florescent, more compact, and ultimately should be much cheaper. I keep forgetting the "Green" in green energy refers to the fleecing of your wallet not something to do with the environment.
How should I clean up a broken fluorescent bulb?
The following steps can be performed by the general public:
1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
2. Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
Use disposable rubber gloves, if available (i.e., do not use bare hands). Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the plastic bag.
Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
3. Place all cleanup materials in a second sealed plastic bag.
Place the first bag in a second sealed plastic bag and put it in the outdoor trash container or in another outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal.
Note: some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a local recycling center.
Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
4. If a fluorescent bulb breaks on a rug or carpet:
First, remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner, following the steps above. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces 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