What to do if a energy saving lamp breaks?

The mercury contained in the lamp cannot escape from an intact lamp but may be a public hazard if the lamp breaks. Although the amount of mercury in energy saving lamps is less than in a mercury thermometer – you need to break over 100 CFLs to be exposed to the same amount in a mercury thermometer – it is wise to follow some precaution steps during clean-up:

1. Use rubber or latex gloves while cleaning up, also to protect yourself from broken glass.
2. Ventilate the room before you start the clean-up. Mercury vaporizes readily at room temperature. Open all windows and leave the room for at least 15 minutes. Do not walk over the affected area. Turn off heating/air conditioning systems, heat pumps, dehumidifiers and ventilation systems.
3. Carefully sweep all the big pieces up using stiff paper or cardboard. Wrap the gathered pieces in newspaper and place in a plastic bag.
4. Use the sticky side of duct tape to clean up all the small pieces. Wrap in newspaper and place in a plastic bag.
5. Do not use a vacuum or a broom to clean up after a broken light bulb as this will vaporize and spread mercury through the air and contaminate the vacuum cleaner or broom.
6. Wipe the area down with a damp paper towel. Place used paper towels in a plastic bag.
7. Remove rubber gloves and place in a plastic bag.
8. Wash your face, hands and arms thoroughly, and change your clothing after cleaning up.
9. Seal all the plastic bags containing the broken pieces of the light bulb, and the paper towels and rubber gloves used in cleaning up.

Please see our overview in the environment banner for recycling procedures in your country or contact us for details of your nearest recycling location.


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