Simple "common-sense" approaches to handling Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
The Maine study, which shattered 65 bulbs to test air quality and clean-up methods made these recommendations: If a bulb breaks, get children and pets out of the room. Ventilate the room. Never use a vacuum -- even on a rug -- to clean up a compact fluorescent light. Instead, while wearing rubber gloves, use stiff paper such as index cards and tape to pick up pieces, then wipe the area with a wet wipe or damp paper towel. If there are young children or pregnant woman in the house, consider cutting out the piece of carpet where the bulb broke. Use a glass jar with a screw top to contain the shards and clean-up debris.
“We found some very high levels (of mercury), even after we tried a number of clean-up techniques," said Mark Hyland, Maine director of the Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management. During several of the experiments, for example, he said mercury in the air was more than 100 times levels considered safe even after a floor was cleaned. He said such levels would quickly decline if the room were ventilated and people followed their tips.
This is one of the parts of the story that I love:
They said most danger could be avoided if people exercised common-sense caution, such as not using the bulbs in table lamps that could be knocked over by children or pets and properly cleaning up broken bulbs.
Here are a couple of questions: How do the pennies that you save with these bulbs compare to the time and health costs of dealing with them? Remember you have to keep these bulbs on for at least 15 minutes once you turn them on (rather inconvenient if you ask me). So what bulbs are we supposed to use in table lamps or those lamps that can be knocked over?
Of course, in other posts I have mentioned some of the other costs from these "efficient" bulbs.