Official CFL cleanup procedure

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http://www.epa.gov/hg/spills/index.htm#fluorescent
 Quote:
Before Clean-up: Air Out the Room Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces. Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments 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 in a sealed plastic bag. Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage. You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb. If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal. Disposal of Clean-up Materials Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center. Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.
 

Bill in Utah

Staff member
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Now I know what to do with the duct tape! (And to think that I just take the bulbs and throw them away)
 
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4,838
Location
Kansas
I saw a investigative show one time call some haz-mat companies over the telephone asking them what the cost would be to clean up a broken fluorescent bulb. A lot of them said they would clean up a dropped/broken fluorescent screw-in bulb for about $2000 or higher. We never heard about that when we were almost mandated to use these things.
 
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8,859
Location
Texas
Good grief- the amount of mercury in a fluorescent lamp wouldn't even cure a case of syphilis, and compact fluorescents have even less than the older-style tubes. What a nation of chickensh*ts we've become. Talk about a tempest in a teapot- anyone old enough to have ever used Merthiolate or Mercurochrome on a cut has had more mercury in their body than that.
 
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1,928
Location
Ohio,USA
 Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
Good grief- the amount of mercury in a fluorescent lamp wouldn't even cure a case of syphilis, and compact fluorescents have even less than the older-style tubes. What a nation of chickensh*ts we've become. Talk about a tempest in a teapot- anyone old enough to have ever used Merthiolate or Mercurochrome on a cut has had more mercury in their body than that.
AMEN!!!
 
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16,181
Location
Silicon Valley
That's what happen when you have too many specs and ISO procedures to follow. Just wipe it clean with a wet cloth and throw it out. The amount of mercury out of a CFL is much too low to do anything unless you intentionally ingest it, or have to clean up a few broken CFL every day.
 

Bill in Utah

Staff member
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UT
 Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
anyone old enough to have ever used Merthiolate or Mercurochrome on a cut has had more mercury in their body than that.
I'm not feeling well now....
 
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23,591
 Originally Posted By: PandaBear
Just wipe it clean with a wet cloth and throw it out.
What are you wiping? The mercury in CFLs is in gas form.
 
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456
Location
CA
Good to know. Personally, Ive moved to LEDs and cold cathodes for a majority of my home lighting. Both are more power efficient than these so called miracle CFL bulbs and non toxic as well.
 
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Messages
456
Location
CA
 Originally Posted By: Tempest
Congress' mandate that light bulbs be at least 25% more efficient by 2012
I dont understand this....there are already better technologies than CFL. Lets move to LEDs and be done with it. The only problem with LEDs is they last too long. Perhaps companies wont make enough money on 'em.
 
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8,859
Location
Texas
 Originally Posted By: heathenbrewing
 Originally Posted By: Tempest
Congress' mandate that light bulbs be at least 25% more efficient by 2012
I dont understand this....there are already better technologies than CFL. Lets move to LEDs and be done with it. The only problem with LEDs is they last too long. Perhaps companies wont make enough money on 'em.
Well, and if people don't like the color rendering of CFLs, LEDs are a LOT worse right now. But they'll get there, or some other technology. Heck, I seem to recall that GE announced not long ago that it has a new design for a conventional incandescent that will match CFL efficiency.
 
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456
Location
CA
 Originally Posted By: 440Magnum
Well, and if people don't like the color rendering of CFLs, LEDs are a LOT worse right now. But they'll get there, or some other technology.
True, tastes are subjective. Personally, I like a true white light over the yellowish tinge incandescents put off, so going from CFLs to LEDs was no problem for me.
 
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16,181
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Silicon Valley
 Originally Posted By: moribundman
 Originally Posted By: PandaBear
Just wipe it clean with a wet cloth and throw it out.
What are you wiping? The mercury in CFLs is in gas form.
Broken Glass.
 
Messages
16,181
Location
Silicon Valley
 Originally Posted By: heathenbrewing
 Originally Posted By: Tempest
Congress' mandate that light bulbs be at least 25% more efficient by 2012
I dont understand this....there are already better technologies than CFL. Lets move to LEDs and be done with it. The only problem with LEDs is they last too long. Perhaps companies wont make enough money on 'em.
Too expensive and not enough intensity, until you find a way to make the blue LED (the source of white light) last longer. Blue LED does not last long, but other color last too long.
 
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9,365
Location
USA
my entire apt is full of CFL's. I had one dud though that is sitting in a box. it comes on, but is purple!
 
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Messages
16,181
Location
Silicon Valley
 Originally Posted By: Cutehumor
my entire apt is full of CFL's. I had one dud though that is sitting in a box. it comes on, but is purple!
They forgot the phosphate dye. Now you have a UV CFL.
 

Bill in Utah

Staff member
Messages
12,849
Location
UT
 Originally Posted By: Cutehumor
my entire apt is full of CFL's. I had one dud though that is sitting in a box. it comes on, but is purple!
I've got at least 30 in my house and another 30 or so in storage. I like them for the $$ savings (we use a lot of lights) and the color of the light. Guess I'm screwed when we have our 8.0 earthquake.
 
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