What to Do if a CFL (Fluorescent) Bulb Breaks

May 10, 2007, 01:00 ET from One Billion Bulbs

    LOS ANGELES, May 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One Billion Bulbs
 (http://www.onebillionbulbs.com) today noted the emerging concern that
 consumers have about CFL mercury, CFL disposal issues and what to do if a
 CFL bulb breaks.
     "While CFL bulbs are normally very safe, people should use extra
 caution if a CFL bulb happens to break, especially in a closed living
 space," said Brian Huyser, founder of One Billion Bulbs. "The EPA's
 recommendations are the best to follow in that eventuality."
     EPA Fact Sheet Compares CFL Mercury Emission to Incandescent Lamps
     According to a June 2002 EPA Fact Sheet, over a five-year period the
 coal emissions in the air needed to power a normal light bulb would be 10.0
 milligrams of mercury compared to a total of 6.4 mg with a CFL (4.0 used in
 CFL and 2.4 mercury air emissions to power the CFL)
     CFL Disposal Sites
     Many people want to know how to dispose of the CFL bulbs when they need
 to be replaced. Earth911 (http://www.earth911.org) provides information on
 site across the nation. A person can supply their zip code and Earth911
 will show them the nearest CFL disposal locations.
     Warning -- If You Break a CFL
     How should I clean up a broken fluorescent bulb?
     EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:
     1. Open a window and leave the room (restrict access) for at least 15
     2. Remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner.
        -- Wear disposable rubber gloves, if available (do not use your bare
        -- Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or
        -- Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipe.
        -- Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces
           and powder.
     3. Place all cleanup materials in a plastic bag and seal it.
        -- If your state permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage,
           seal the CFL in two plastic bags and put into the outside trash (if
           no other disposal or recycling options are available).
        -- Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
     4. More
        -- The first time you vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove
           the vacuum bag once done cleaning the area (or empty and wipe the
           canister) and put the bag and/or vacuum debris, as well as the
           cleaning materials, in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash
           or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.
           Reference: EPA
     The information above is also noted in the One Billion Bulb web site.
     About One Billion Bulbs
     One Billion Bulbs is an initiative that encourages people to conserve
 energy by replacing one billion standard incandescent light bulbs with more
 energy efficient bulbs such as CFL or LED bulbs. In addition people and
 groups can register how many bulbs they have changed. Groups such as high
 schools, colleges, alumni organizations, bloggers, community groups, etc
 have registered groups in order to motivate their members, readers, friends
 and neighbors to be pro-active in changing bulbs. In April, One Billion
 Bulbs became part of Pajamas Media, an internet media organization that is
 working on a broad energy conservation initiative.

SOURCE One Billion Bulbs