how to dispose of a broken CFL bulb

Flourescent 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. The broken bulb can continue to release mercury vapor until it is cleaned up and removed from the residence. To minimize exposure to mercury vapor, EPA recommends that residents follow the cleanup and disposal steps described below:

  • Have people and pets leave the room.
  • Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.
  • Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.
  • Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulbs.
  • Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder.
  • Place cleanup materials in a sealable container.
  • Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly.
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