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Safety Alert!. How to dispose of compact fluorescent lamps. Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL).

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Safety Alert!

How to dispose of compact fluorescent lamps

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), also known as a compact fluorescent tube or energy saving light is a type of fluorescent lamp designed to replace the conventional incandescent light bulbs. Though a little more expensive, they are preferred now due to their energy saving properties – they use less power and have a longer rated life


CFLs contain mercury albeit in small amounts which can be released if the bulb breaks during disposal. Because mercury is poisonous, even these small amounts are a concern for landfills and waste incinerators where the mercury from lamps may be released and contribute to air and water pollution.

Within the past few years, many workers in China who work in plants that make CFLs have been poisoned by mercury exposure.

Mercury can cause damage to the nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system and kidneys. High levels of exposure can cause death due to respiratory failure.

Solution –In the event that a tube breaks

1. Open a window and keep people out of the room for at least 15 minutes.

2. Use disposable rubber gloves and a piece of stiff paper or cardboard to pick up as many fragments

of glass and powder as you can. Use sticky tape to pick up the smallest pieces and then wipe the area with a damp paper towel.

3. Double-bag (in plastic bags) all cleanup materials and seal the bags befefore disposal.

4. Wash your hands after handling the bags.

5. If the bulb breaks and fragments land in carpeting, all but the smallest particles should be gathered on stiff paper or

cardboard before the area is vacuumed.

May 2010