We had a big discussion about compact fluorescent light bulbs during our recent Easter celebration. My Mother informed me that the bulbs contained mercury, and I thought she had been misinformed.
Evidently, she’s right.
We’ve had several of these bulbs in our home for over a year, and I’m not terribly concerned about it. But, my boys are still at that age where we go through a few broken light bulbs each year.
Of course, PZ informs us to there is nothing to fear (he‘s only skeptical of all forms of religion and anyone who doesn‘t strictly adhere to every belief of the “scientific community“), yet here are the warnings he passes on from the Environment Protection Agency:
While CFLs for your home are not legally considered hazardous waste according to federal solid waste rules, it is still best for the environment to dispose of your CFL properly upon burnout. Only large commercial users of tubular fluorescent lamps are required to recycle. If recycling is not an option in your area (see below on how to find out), place the CFL in a sealed plastic bag and dispose the same way you would batteries, oil-based paint and motor oil at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Site. If your local HHW Collection Site cannot accept CFLs (check Earth911.org to find out), seal the CFL in a plastic bag and place with your regular trash.I honestly think I remember breaking one once, but I had no idea they contained mercury. Yuck, I can feel the mercury poisoning rushing through my body...
...If a CFL breaks in your home, open nearby windows to disperse any vapor that may escape, carefully sweep up the fragments (do not use your hands) and wipe the area with a disposable paper towel to remove all glass fragments. Do not use a vacuum. Place all fragments in a sealed plastic bag and follow disposal instructions above.
I think to be cautious, I’ll strategically place those suckers around the house so we don’t have another mercury spill!!