If you accidentally break a CFL, it can release harmful mercury into the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following clean up procedure for broken CFLs:
Open a window in the room before cleaning, and leave the room for about 15 minutes.
- Wear rubber gloves and remove all metal jewelry.
- Do not allow children or pregnant women to enter the room.
- If weather permits, leave the window open for a day and turn on a fan to air out the room.
- Use stiff paper or cardboard to scoop up glass or powder on a hard floor. On carpet, use sticky tape to pick up dust and small fragments.
- Wipe the floor with a damp rag to pick up remaining dust. A broom or vacuum may stir up more dust.
Once the mercury has been removed, shine a flashlight to double-check for missed pieces. Place the broken glass and dust in a sealed plastic bag, along with any rags, paper, or tape used in the clean up, and dispose of it at a household hazardous waste site. For more information, see the EPA Web site Cleaning Up a Broken CFL.
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