Monday, April 7, 2008

Shedding light on CFL bulbs

I am all for CFL bulbs as a way to save energy, so imagine my surprise when I read a story in the latest issue of Down East magazine about a $2,000 bill associated with cleaning up a broken light bulb in a woman's home.

The article stated that, yes, there is some mercury in the bulbs but common sense should be used in clean up of a broken bulb. The article referenced the Maine state Web site, which offers these tips and others:
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the breakage. This will spread the mercury vapor and dust throughout the area and could potentially contaminate the vacuum.
  • Ventilate the area by opening windows before and hours after clean-up.
  • Leave the area for 15 minutes before returning to begin the cleanup.
  • Place broken pieces in a secure closed container, preferably glass.
  • Remove the container with the breakage and cleanup materials from your home.
  • Wash your hands and face after cleaning up.

Unbroken bulbs, of course, should be recycled.

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