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How Do I Clean Up A Broken Compact Fluorescent Bulb?

CFL disposalCompact fluorescent light bulbs are widely praised for their energy-efficiency and relatively low price points. However, unlike traditional light bulbs, they pose a specific health risk to humans and pets.

Most compact fluorescent light bulbs are loaded with mercury vapor and mercury is poisonous -- even in very small doses.

And, unfortunately, sometimes light bulbs break, releasing toxins into the air.

To assist homeowners in Franklin , the EPA published a series of CFL-handling guidelines on its website under the heading "How Should I Clean Up A Broken Fluorescent Bulb?".

The EPA's advice is specific and geared toward safety. A few of the tips include:

  1. Have people and pets leave the room immediately
  2. Shut down your home's HVAC unit to prevent airflow
  3. Using rubber gloves, place glass fragments and "powder" in a glass jar, or sealed plastic bag.

In addition, the EPA says to throw out all clothing and bedding that has come into direct contact with a broken bulb. You should not attempt to wash items such as these. They may contain mercury fragments that could contaminate your laundry machines and/or your sewage system.

Lastly, make sure to keep your CFLs separate from your regular trash; they're not meant for landfills. Compact fluorescent light bulbs should be recycled with a verified waste management company.

You can find one at

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