Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and mercury is toxic. That's why you can't just toss CFLs in the trash or recycling bin. If you ever accidentally break a CFL bulb you'll wanna take extra care to clean up the mess in the safest and most responsible manner.
Click here to read the steps to take to clean up a broken fluorescent bulb as outlined by the EPA.
A few key points from the process:
- Shut off central air conditioning or any fans.
- Open windows and air out the room for a few hours.
- Do not use a vacuum.
- The EPA suggests using sticky tape to get up bits of glass, but a sticky lint roller would probably be easier to use.
- Dispose of the collected waste according to your local guidelines for CFL recycling.
Read "I Broke a CFL. Now What?" at Earth911 for more info on CFLs, mercury exposure, and recycling.
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