What To Do If A Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks In Your Home

What To Do If A Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks In Your Home

So, one of the CFL's has broken in your home and now what do you do?  

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Did you know that there are certain steps you will need to take in order to reduce the exposure to mercury vapor you may face because of the broken bulb?  Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing that can release as a vapor when broken and continue to release the vapor until appropriately cleaned and removed from your home.

Here are some highlights and below is a link to the US Environmental Protection Agency Cleanup and Disposal Overview

  • Have people and pets leave the room

  • Air the room out

  • Do not vacuum

  • Collect all of the broken glass and visible powder

    • stiff paper or cardboard

    • sticky tape

    • damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes

    • a glass jar with metal lid or a sealable plastic bag

  • Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors, take outside into trash container until materials can be disposed of properly.

  • Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broke and leave the HVAC system off for several hours

  • Once you have the area cleaned, empty vacuum bag, and on subsequent cleaning of the area, shut off HVAC and close doors to that area while cleaning that room and dispose of the vacuum bag as well.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the materials

Actions you can take to avoid or prevent broken compact fluorescent light bulbs

  • Always allow the bulb to cool off before handling

  • Never forecfully twist the glass tubing

  • Choose not to install CFL bulbs in floor or table lamps that can be easily knocked over

    • Choose instead to use LED bulbs, or Halogen bulbs

    • Purchase CFL bulbs that have a protective cover over the spiral glass tube


If you cannot follow all the recommended steps or if you have already cleaned up after a broken CFL, what should you do?

  • Don't be alarmed; the steps outlined are only precautions that reflect best practices for cleaning up a broken CFL. Keep in mind that CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury -- less than 1/100th of the amount in a mercury thermometer.

  • However, if you are concerned about your health after cleaning up a broken CFL, consult your local poison control center by calling 1-800-222-1222. You can call your center any time you have questions or in an emergency. You can also consult your physician about potential health effects from mercury exposures.


I can help you find real estate to meet your needs.  If you are ready to buy or sell your home in San Antonio give me a call.  Text "jonathan" to 210-585-2601.  Or call me at 210-844-7972





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Phone: 210-844-7972
Dated: July 31st 2016
Views: 853
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