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Kevin Gregoire
06-21-2012, 7:47 PM
Cleaning Up a Broken CFL

What to Do if a CFL Breaks in Your Home




Before Cleanup



Have people and pets leave the room, and avoid the breakage area on the way out.
Open a window or door to the outdoors and leave the room for 5-10 minutes.
Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.
Collect materials you will need to clean up the broken bulb:

Stiff paper or cardboard
Sticky tape (e.g., duct tape)
Damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces)
Glass jar with a metal lid (such as a canning jar) or a sealable plastic bag(s)






Cleanup Steps for Hard Surfaces



Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)
Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Vacuuming of hard surfaces during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all broken glass, keep the following tips in mind:

Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;
Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available; and
Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.


Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and cleanup materials.
Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for several hours.




Cleanup Steps for Carpeting or Rugs



Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)
Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Vacuuming of carpeting or rugs during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all broken glass, keep the following tips in mind:

Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;
Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available, and
Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.


Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and cleanup materials.
Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for several hours
(http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html#content)




Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rugs: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming



The next several times you vacuum the rug or carpet, shut off the H&AC system if you have one, close the doors to other rooms, and open a window or door to the outside before vacuuming. Change the vacuum bag after each use in this area.
After vacuuming is completed, keep the H&AC system shut off and the window or door to the outside open, as practical, for several hours.
(http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html#content)




Why is it important to clean up a broken CFL properly?

CFLs and other fluorescent light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. When a fluorescent bulb breaks in your home, some of this mercury is released as mercury vapor. To minimize exposure to mercury vapor, EPA recommends that residents follow the cleanup and disposal steps described on this page.
(http://www.epa.gov/epahome/pdf2.htm)


What if I can't follow all the recommended steps? or I cleaned up a CFL but didn't do it properly?

Don't be alarmed; these steps are only precautions that reflect best practices for cleaning up a broken CFL. Keep in mind that CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury -- less than 1/100th of the amount in a mercury thermometer.
However, if you are concerned about the risk to your health from a potential exposure to mercury, consult your physician.



courtesy of US EPA (http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

other related stories


scientific american (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-compact-fluorescent-lightbulbs-dangerous)

MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23694819/ns/us_news-environment/t/shining-light-hazards-fluorescent-bulbs/#.T-OfM_XE2p0)

YouTube Video 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMimNv9xQeM)

YouTube Video 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x6LNTdMVaU&feature=related)

YouTube Video 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upmLJM2VTlM&feature=related)

Kevin Bourque
06-21-2012, 8:41 PM
We're all doomed...:D

Tom Stenzel
06-21-2012, 10:40 PM
I remember about 15 years ago a friend of mine picked up a mercury detector from some surplus place. When set to it's most sensitive range it would pick up the mercury emissions from dental fillings. Drink something acidic, the readings went up. Liquid mercury in a dish could be detected but it was a really low level.

One day he was changing some standard 40 watt florescent tubes in his basement, several tubes fell and broke. While he was cleaning up the mess, he got out the detector just to see how much mercury there was in the air.

Set to the least sensitive range it was pinned upscale.

He opened windows, set up fans to air the room out. When the readings went down he went back to cleaning. After he vacuumed a few minutes, he looked and found the detector pinned upscale again. The vacuum cleaner was spewing the mercury around.

He did get the mess cleaned up using sulfur. I remember him remarking at the time that if a mercury thermometer was broken at a school, they'd evacuate the building. But if a janitor dropped a case of florescent tubes, no one would blink an eye - even though the exposure would be way higher.

The problem with florescent lamps and mercury has always existed. We just didn't pay attention to it.

-Tom Stenzel

Greg Peterson
06-21-2012, 11:25 PM
The problem with florescent lamps and mercury has always existed. We just didn't pay attention to it.



As we learn or become aware of the hazards surrounding us, the smart ones will choose to act responsibly. I was explaining dust collection to my boss recently and the health hazards associated with fine dust. She scoffed at the notion that it could harm you and stated the obvious fact that life is full of risks.

I believe in mitigating known risks.

Rod Sheridan
06-22-2012, 8:46 AM
Nothing new, except the newer lamps have far less mercury in them than the old lamps.

As always, proper clean up is the key.

As to the thermometer versus lamp with respect to mercury, there is much more mercury in a thermometer than in a case of lamps...........Rod.

Bill Edwards(2)
06-22-2012, 10:11 AM
Won't be long and you'll just call a mercury abatement team.

They'll shave everyone in the house, including your pets.

Hose everybody down, ban you from the house, strip the target room bare,

take all your clothing, food and soft surface items for disposal.

Then send you a bill! :D

Paul Brinkmeyer
06-22-2012, 10:58 AM
And yet, in my high school science class,(1968) our teacher gave each of us students a small amount of mercury to play with in the palm of our hands. About a spoon full. I had my mercury for a few years. Use to keep it in a empty prescription bottle, but every once in a while it did come out so I could push it around the kitchen table.

Larry Browning
06-22-2012, 11:14 AM
Holy blankity blank!
This is just a bunch of rubbish!

Here's what you do to clean it up. Get a broom and sweep it into a dust pan, dump the contents of the dust pan into the nearest trash can. If it is in the carpet run the vacuum over it a couple times. DONE!
Go back to living your life.

I can't believe this thread was even started.

Paul,
How is it that you are even alive today to tell us your story?

Rick Potter
06-22-2012, 11:57 AM
Like Paul, as a kid we used to get the mercury out of a broken thermometer and play with it. It was always miraculous to put a bit on a dime and see how much it shined. I hate to admit it, but I have thrown away dozens of flourescent tubes by putting them in a trash can, holding my breath, and breaking them with a hammer. In the old days, that WAS considered taking safety precautions.

Rick Potter

Larry Browning
06-22-2012, 12:27 PM
Like Paul, as a kid we used to get the mercury out of a broken thermometer and play with it. It was always miraculous to put a bit on a dime and see how much it shined. I hate to admit it, but I have thrown away dozens of flourescent tubes by putting them in a trash can, holding my breath, and breaking them with a hammer. In the old days, that WAS considered taking safety precautions.

Rick Potter

I still follow that same procedure today. (Except the part about holding my breath)
And miraculously I am still alive and kicking! Will wonders never cease?

Chuck Wintle
06-22-2012, 12:31 PM
We're all doomed...:D

yes doomed!

Kevin Gregoire
06-22-2012, 2:15 PM
here are some pictures of someone that dropped a large bulb during changing and stepped on the pieces by accident
spent two weeks in icu fearing amputation. last picture is foot vacuum wrapped to continuously suck out dead tissue and contaminants.

Belinda Williamson
06-22-2012, 2:28 PM
Yep, I played with mercury in high school, too. Our chemistry teacher kept it in a big brown glass jar on a shelf in the lab closet. My junior year I did an indepent study course in Microbiology and the same teacher was my advisor. I had a fascination with mercury and I actually played frequently with a pea sized amount in my palm. Now while this may explain some of my more idiosyncratic behavior, I'm still alive and kicking.

mike holden
06-22-2012, 3:38 PM
In my High School, in the mid-60's, the chemistry prof asked us to bring in a shiny new penny the next day. We coated our pennies with Mercury and kept them in our pockets or in our penny loafers as good luck charms.
This is an example of overblowing the dangers. If you were to break all the lamps in a big box store at once, and then go to clean them up, then maybe these precautions might be of value. Otherwise -
Mike

Larry Klaaren
06-22-2012, 4:24 PM
If you were to break all the lamps in a big box store at once, and then go to clean them up, then maybe these precautions might be of value. Otherwise -
Mike

Vaporized mercury, the form used in CFL bulbs, is a proven, verified health threat. It is a very very potent carcinogen, much more potent than asbestos. It would be very foolish to ignore this fact. Liquid mercury is not much of a health threat.

Larry

Myk Rian
06-22-2012, 4:30 PM
What to Do if a CFL Breaks in Your Home
Throw it in the trash. I mean, cripe.
Do people realize how much mercury has been played with, by those of us old enough to even KNOW what it looks like?
Turning a penny into a dime with it. Drop it on the floor and watch it disappear. Etc. etc.
I've used mercury at work 100 pounds at a time.
Hasn't affected me at all. You would have to be exposed to it in a vapor state daily, for a long darned time, to be affected.
This evacuating a building when a thermometer is broken is just plain stupid.
Freakin idiots in this country.

Chuck Wintle
06-22-2012, 4:37 PM
why do we think these bulbs are an improvement? If they represent such a health hazard with the toxic mercury and such then consumers are better off buying the old style incandescent bulbs which are not toxic.

Larry Klaaren
06-22-2012, 4:50 PM
The problem is that mercury, once taken into the bloodstream, stays in the body forever. It is a very potent nuerotoxin. Even professionals who generally down-play these warnings take this one seriously. Obviously the more exposures, the more chance of trouble down the road, but very small amounts are known to cause mental problems in humans. Mercury is the ingredient that caused people dealing with felt to develop insanity, which is the source of the term "Mad Hatter".

phil harold
06-22-2012, 5:23 PM
http://www.snopes.com/photos/medical/cfl.asp

read the last paragraph

ray hampton
06-22-2012, 5:25 PM
The problem is that mercury, once taken into the bloodstream, stays in the body forever. It is a very potent nuerotoxin. Even professionals who generally down-play these warnings take this one seriously. Obviously the more exposures, the more chance of trouble down the road, but very small amounts are known to cause mental problems in humans. Mercury is the ingredient that caused people dealing with felt to develop insanity, which is the source of the term "Mad Hatter".

mercury are in the fish that you catch so the mercury must be in the water that we drink, did the miners use mercury when they were mining gold ?

Greg Peterson
06-22-2012, 9:57 PM
Coal burning power plants and smelting are the primary producers of air borne mercury. It settles into streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. Mercury works its way up the food chain, amassing in larger quantities in bigger fish.

Mercury is a problem and like most things, the damage doesn't begin to show until it's too late. The amount of mercury in a CFL may be tiny, but there is little harm in exercising some minimal precautions.

Gordon Eyre
06-23-2012, 12:51 AM
I hate to think about how many fluorescent tubes I have broken into the trash with a hammer, not to mention the mercury from thermometers that I have played with as a youth. In addition, i grew up drinking straight from a garden hose. It's a wonder that I am still alive. By the way what do really health concious people do with their old fluorescent tubes?

Larry Browning
06-23-2012, 8:02 AM
In addition, i grew up drinking straight from a garden hose. It's a wonder that I am still alive.
Wait a minute! Why shouldn't I drink out of the garden hose? On second thought, don't tell me, I don't want to know!

David Weaver
06-23-2012, 8:30 AM
Apparently, someone tested what comes out of a garden hose the same way they'd test public water or well water, and found PVC additives, lead, etc. It was in the news a couple of days ago. If it's like wile e coyote, I guess we'll all be affected by it now that we know it, otherwise we'd have felt unaffected.

So far, the following things cause cancer:
* air
* water
* sun
* most solid materials in one way or another


Good luck avoiding them.

Bill Edwards(2)
06-23-2012, 9:01 AM
So far, the following things cause cancer:
* air
* water
* sun
* most solid materials in one way or another



* Food
* Sex

Brian Elfert
06-23-2012, 9:08 AM
The reason I've heard not to drink from hoses is because bacteria can build up in the water inside if the hose lays in the sun and isn't used often.

Myk Rian
06-23-2012, 10:57 AM
I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die.
All the chemicals I've been exposed to, garden hoses, mercury, breathing the air around the Earth.
:eek:
It's a wonder I've made it to my 6th decade of life.

Larry Browning
06-23-2012, 11:30 AM
The reason I've heard not to drink from hoses is because bacteria can build up in the water inside if the hose lays in the sun and isn't used often.
I asked you not to tell me and you went ahead and did it anyway. Is nothing sacred anymore?
I was much happier not knowing that.
Oh well, I guess it's just one more warning about what will kill my that I will ignore. I would think dehydration would be a more serious threat than drinking from a garden hose. Sometimes that is the only 2 alternatives.

Larry Browning
06-23-2012, 11:33 AM
I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die.
All the chemicals I've been exposed to, garden hoses, mercury, breathing the air around the Earth.
:eek:
It's a wonder I've made it to my 6th decade of life.
Or... Maybe we are all really dead, we just don't know it yet!

ray hampton
06-23-2012, 11:57 AM
Or... Maybe we are all really dead, we just don't know it yet!

dead men walking or Zombies ?

Ole Anderson
06-23-2012, 1:38 PM
How about we just be careful to not break a CFL? And if you break one every other year, just air out the place and clean it up carefully, skipping about 2/3 of the steps in the OP post.

Anyone care to hijack this into how to dispose of a bad CFL that isn't broken? You will do that a lot more frequently than having to worry over a broken one. Interestingly, a CFL will reduce the mercury load into the environment due to the energy savings and not having to use fossil fuels with mercury in them to generate the extra energy. Here is what the EPA says about CFL's:

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf

ray hampton
06-23-2012, 2:04 PM
mercury was use in water-based paint until 1991 when it was discontinue , we stop using lead paint and switch to mercury, did the switch make sense ?

Greg Peterson
06-23-2012, 8:43 PM
mercury was use in water-based paint until 1991 when it was discontinue , we stop using lead paint and switch to mercury, did the switch make sense ?

I'm going to guess that to the lay person, no, it doesn't make sense.

Tom Stenzel
06-23-2012, 8:47 PM
How about we just be careful to not break a CFL? And if you break one every other year, just air out the place and clean it up carefully, skipping about 2/3 of the steps in the OP post.


The day this thread started my wife turned on the overhead light, the glass envelope on the 5 year old CFL cracked. It didn't shatter but was spiderwebbed. She said it just went POW.

The light, of course, was in the kitchen.

-Tom Stenzel

ray hampton
06-23-2012, 9:59 PM
The day this thread started my wife turned on the overhead light, the glass envelope on the 5 year old CFL cracked. It didn't shatter but was spider webbed. She said it just went POW.

The light, of course, was in the kitchen.

-Tom Stenzel

did the crack permit the gas to leak out ?

Tom Stenzel
06-23-2012, 11:11 PM
did the crack permit the gas to leak out ?

I would imagine it did, didn't try to break the glass further to see if there was pressure in it.

I noticed the bulb was out, my wife said it had popped the day before. I'm sure the ceiling fan dispersed whatever came out evenly!

It was a 9 watt Ikea bulb, if anyone is interested.

That's why I try to mitigate exposure when I can. There's no telling how much exposure that you might get and not be able to do anything about it, or even have any knowledge of it.

Of course, I just spent yesterday evening cleaning aluminum arrows (acetone) so I could refletch (methyl ethyl ketone glue) them. Did I knock over my can of acetone and spill it all over the table? Of course I did! Dang!

-Tom Stenzel

ray hampton
06-24-2012, 12:49 AM
first , I hate that spill your acetone while finish the arrows, I think that if the current was flowing thru. the bulb when it crack that it would burnt the fine wire inside of the bulb, I remove the glass from a bulb and it would burn in two using a D cell

Tom Stenzel
06-24-2012, 10:55 AM
Rereading my post today I guess my point using the fletching of arrows got lost or never existed in the first place.

What I thought was going to be a minor amount of exposure to solvents quickly turned into a much larger exposure that I would have expected.

The same with mercury or any other toxin. If seafood was the only source of mercury you ingested, you probably would be OK your whole life. If CFLs were the only source of mercury, a couple of broken bulbs with a sloppy cleanup over your lifetime would be OK. But will the combinations of all the sources create a problem?

I'm crazy enough already, don't need to addle my brain any more than it is. In my instrumentation work over the decades I've worked with 100's of pounds of liquid mercury in BIF and Simplex flow meters. My mercury quota is pretty well filled up already.

-Tom Stenzel

Greg Peterson
06-24-2012, 2:35 PM
Good point Tom. It isn't the single exposure, it is the accumulation of multiple exposures over decades, and now that it is in our food supply, I would not be surprised to see substantial number of persons dealing with mercury poisoning.

Sure one little CFL isn't going to be immediately noticed, but just like those extra pounds of fat, cigarettes, radon gas and a myriad of other things that slowly wind up to deliver a knock out punch, when you've reached your limit, you've reached your limit.

ray hampton
06-24-2012, 2:42 PM
we can smell acetone when the container get knock over, do mercury have a odor to it, at one time , the cars gas tank fill tube was just above the rear bumper, go ahead fill the tank up, then drive up hill so the gasoline could flow out into the street, you be surprise how quick they fix that mistake

Greg Peterson
06-24-2012, 3:14 PM
Natural gas is odorless, but the gas company puts a sulfur scent in it to alert persons when there is a leak. Perhaps something similar could be done with CFL's?

ray hampton
06-24-2012, 5:15 PM
Natural gas is odorless, but the gas company puts a sulfur scent in it to alert persons when there is a leak. Perhaps something similar could be done with CFL's?

I do not understand the name " natural gas " methane gas is natural and it got a high odor

David Weaver
06-24-2012, 7:38 PM
Methane gas is odorless. Sulfur and other things that come out of people along with methane are not.

There were lots of disasters with natural gas before they put something putrid in so you could smell it.

Some place here (an ice cream place) in the 50s blew up because there was a leak under the building and an inspector for the electric company lit a pipe when he was arriving to look around the building.

Tom Stenzel
06-24-2012, 7:58 PM
Methane gas is odorless. Sulfur and other things that come out of people along with methane are not.

There were lots of disasters with natural gas before they put something putrid in so you could smell it.

Some place here (an ice cream place) in the 50s blew up because there was a leak under the building and an inspector for the electric company lit a pipe when he was arriving to look around the building.

The added chemical is mercaptan. Below is a link with information about natural gas, plus the usual self-serving industry fluff. Dunno if a direct link to this is allowed but here goes:

http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/background.asp

-Tom Stenzel

ray hampton
06-24-2012, 8:45 PM
The added chemical is mercaptan. Below is a link with information about natural gas, plus the usual self-serving industry fluff. Dunno if a direct link to this is allowed but here goes:

http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/background.asp

-Tom Stenzel

there have been a untold numbers of mines that blew because of the gas build-up in the mine, do gas also build up in the caves systems ?

John Stankus
06-24-2012, 9:35 PM
Vaporized mercury, the form used in CFL bulbs, is a proven, verified health threat. It is a very very potent carcinogen, much more potent than asbestos. It would be very foolish to ignore this fact. Liquid mercury is not much of a health threat.

Larry

Actually, mercury is not a carcinogen. It is classified as IARC group 3 "The agent (mixture or exposure circumstance) is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. This category is used most commonly for agents, mixtures and exposure circumstances for which the evidence of carcinogenicity is inadequate in humans and inadequate or limited in experimental animals" IARC is the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

If you really want to know the hazards of mercury (or any other chemical) google MSDS and the chemical name. The MSDS is the Material Safety Data Sheet, which by law all chemical manufacturers must provide. It details the hazards and the methods for dealing with the hazards.

From the virginmercury.com msds http://www.virginmercury.com/pdf/MSDS.pdf
: Long-term exposures to Mercury vapors present
a severe health hazard. When Inhaled, Mercury will
be rapidly distributed throughout the body During this
time, Mercury will cross the blood-brain barrier, and
become oxidized m the Hg(ll) oxldatlon state. The oxidized
species of Mercury cannot cross the blood-brain barrier
and thus accumulates in the brain. Mercury in other
organs is removed slowly tom the body via the kidneys
me average haif-time for clearance of Mercury for different
paw of the human body is as follows: lung, 1.7 days;
head. 21 days; kIdney region, 64 days; chest 43 days;
whole body, 58 days

The toxicity section is also interesting but the msds is a scan of the paper copy and does not copy well into the post.


Regards

John
(My day job is chemistry professor)

Van Huskey
06-24-2012, 9:38 PM
What to do is you break a CFL...

Sell the house... :D

Ryan Mooney
06-24-2012, 9:39 PM
The reason I've heard not to drink from hoses is because bacteria can build up in the water inside if the hose lays in the sun and isn't used often.

Yeah but your computer keyboard is likely much much nastier :D

Non potable (especially older) garden hoses were also a significant source of lead, but if you let the water run for a minute 99.99999999% of the time its just fine (I make the % up, but have read on residual bacteria and chemical analysis which were below detectable thresholds in pretty much all cases so its not completely bumpkiss). I would be surprised if anyone drank much from a hose that hadn't run enough to be clean because blech, the flavor!

Jeff Nicol
06-24-2012, 9:56 PM
First thing is that mercury is a naturally occuring mineral/metal and like has been said many times most all of us have played with it numerous times during our youth and beyond. Also one would have to eat 100's of pounds of tainted fish flesh to get sick and the mercury settles in the fat of the fish and most anyone who eats fish often knows where the fat is and what to cut off the fillet to remove the majority of the tainted portion. But for those who have no knowledge of many things and have no desire to learn about what "Those of high education, knowledge.....also with government credentials" tell them to believe, will go with that "Threat" and in a week or month when the powers that be change what is dangerous to our health.....those who wish to be told what to do, fear, like, avoid, buy and so on will switch to the newest fear in the blink of an eye.

So what I am trying to say is that most of us know what is safe, and use our common sense to determine what steps to insure our own self preservation. Then after all the hard steps to do the right thing, many will get hit by a car, fall of a ladder, slip on the ice, get struck by lightning and oh so many other deadly things far quicker than perishing from mercury poisoning. For each and every time the government gets their hooks into something all of the new regulations that will miraculously appear to create fear, control and un-needed oversight, it happens everytime and that is just the facts and we have lived with this for about a century or so. Will it ever end???? I sure hope so!

Just my view of all the foolishness in the world,

Jeff

Brian Ashton
06-25-2012, 4:28 AM
Vaporized mercury, the form used in CFL bulbs, is a proven, verified health threat. It is a very very potent carcinogen, much more potent than asbestos. It would be very foolish to ignore this fact. Liquid mercury is not much of a health threat.

Larry

Hate to say it but so are many kinds of wood dust, particleboard or mdf dust are the worst. The way I see it there's no point worrying about it. To be honest dying is like being an elite sports athlete... it's best to go out when you're on top and not linger around too long.

Brian Ashton
06-25-2012, 4:31 AM
why do we think these bulbs are an improvement? If they represent such a health hazard with the toxic mercury and such then consumers are better off buying the old style incandescent bulbs which are not toxic.

Most don't think they're an improvement - just the flavour of the month right now for all the greenies who want to save electrons...

Belinda Williamson
06-25-2012, 6:47 AM
Jeff, you're already married, right? :D

Ken Mosley
06-25-2012, 8:58 AM
I'm afraid that the true motive can be found in the cost of "proper disposal" as shown in a recent notice of compliance I recieved from Waste Management. You send for the proper size box and fill it with your worn-out bulbs-send it back to waste management for "proper" disposal. The box price starts at $99.00! This does however include postage! Ain't it GREAT?




Cleaning Up a Broken CFL

What to Do if a CFL Breaks in Your Home




Before Cleanup



Have people and pets leave the room, and avoid the breakage area on the way out.
Open a window or door to the outdoors and leave the room for 5-10 minutes.
Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.
Collect materials you will need to clean up the broken bulb:

Stiff paper or cardboard
Sticky tape (e.g., duct tape)
Damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces)
Glass jar with a metal lid (such as a canning jar) or a sealable plastic bag(s)





Cleanup Steps for Hard Surfaces



Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)
Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Vacuuming of hard surfaces during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all broken glass, keep the following tips in mind:

Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;
Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available; and
Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.


Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and cleanup materials.
Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for several hours.




Cleanup Steps for Carpeting or Rugs



Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)
Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.
Vacuuming of carpeting or rugs during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all broken glass, keep the following tips in mind:

Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;
Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available, and
Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.


Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of. Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and cleanup materials.
Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for several hours
(http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html#content)




Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rugs: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming



The next several times you vacuum the rug or carpet, shut off the H&AC system if you have one, close the doors to other rooms, and open a window or door to the outside before vacuuming. Change the vacuum bag after each use in this area.
After vacuuming is completed, keep the H&AC system shut off and the window or door to the outside open, as practical, for several hours.
(http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html#content)




Why is it important to clean up a broken CFL properly?

CFLs and other fluorescent light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. When a fluorescent bulb breaks in your home, some of this mercury is released as mercury vapor. To minimize exposure to mercury vapor, EPA recommends that residents follow the cleanup and disposal steps described on this page.
(http://www.epa.gov/epahome/pdf2.htm)


What if I can't follow all the recommended steps? or I cleaned up a CFL but didn't do it properly?

Don't be alarmed; these steps are only precautions that reflect best practices for cleaning up a broken CFL. Keep in mind that CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury -- less than 1/100th of the amount in a mercury thermometer.
However, if you are concerned about the risk to your health from a potential exposure to mercury, consult your physician.



courtesy of US EPA (http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html)

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other related stories


scientific american (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-compact-fluorescent-lightbulbs-dangerous)

MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23694819/ns/us_news-environment/t/shining-light-hazards-fluorescent-bulbs/#.T-OfM_XE2p0)

YouTube Video 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMimNv9xQeM)

YouTube Video 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x6LNTdMVaU&feature=related)

YouTube Video 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upmLJM2VTlM&feature=related)

David Weaver
06-25-2012, 9:30 AM
WM has a lot of high-priced products aimed at consumers. Things like the bagster and all of these green recycle boxes that you can track and get excited about where things went, etc.

Like throwing away a TV for $100 when BB will take it and give you a $10 gift certificate for the fee that they charge to take it.

I had a bathroom to take apart, and WM here will not take construction waste without an extra charge. So I tossed the floor (tile and subfloor), the toilet and the vanity out with the garbage and called them, and they charged $25 additional to take it with the regular garbage. I'm glad I didn't use one of their canned solutions for $100.

But you can't blame them for offering - they probably know most people won't buy those services, but i'm sure they do pretty well with the ones who do.

(the township takes bulbs and other such things for free here year round, the bigger issue is coming up with a big enough pile of them to make it worth driving a few miles to drop them off. It's not too hard to store spent tubes and bulbs in the attic where nobody will step on them or break them.)

Ken Mosley
06-25-2012, 9:52 AM
This solution opens other problems: Do you sign the disclosure form? The safest thing is to simply abandon the property so it is available for the homeless. Get it? Throw-a-way house...

Greg Peterson
06-25-2012, 10:07 AM
First thing is that mercury is a naturally occuring mineral/metal and like has been said many times most all of us have played with it numerous times during our youth and beyond.

Uranium and lead are also naturally occurring elements.

I have serious doubts that many kids played with vaporized mercury.

Yes, most of us know what is safe and most of us know how to assess risk. I don't know about others, but I just don't have that many CFL bulbs breaking around me. In fact, it is a fairly uncommon occurrence for me. However, should one break I will make sure that I let the air clear before I clean up. YMMV.

Craig Gates
06-25-2012, 11:03 AM
Vaporized mercury, the form used in CFL bulbs, is a proven, verified health threat. It is a very very potent carcinogen, much more potent than asbestos. It would be very foolish to ignore this fact. Liquid mercury is not much of a health thre
Larry

The EPA doesn't agree.
"EPA has classified elemental mercury as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity, based on inadequate human and animal data."

Jeff Duncan
06-25-2012, 2:14 PM
So if I don't use CFL's I'm a bad person b/c I'm not "green " and not taking care of the planet! If I do use them I'm a bad person for exposing my family to potential toxic fumes....I guess we'll have to go back to candles:confused:

Now a different question....what's worse for me....the mercury present in a nice thick tuna steak I cook on my grill, or the carcinogenic black residue from taking too long to get another beer, and slightly burning part of my tuna steak?

Answer....it's a moot point b/c the wood dust I breathe everyday will surely get me first:eek:

JeffD

Ryan Mooney
06-25-2012, 2:54 PM
Now a different question....what's worse for me....the mercury present in a nice thick tuna steak I cook on my grill, or the carcinogenic black residue from taking too long to get another beer, and slightly burning part of my tuna steak?

Answer....it's a moot point b/c the wood dust I breathe everyday will surely get me first:eek:

JeffD

Actually you were mostly there by going back for another beer :D
This is the first "feeling lucky" hit http://nutritionwonderland.com/2009/01/beer-barbecue/ but I've read some other studies that showed post application of beer also reduces
HCAs (i.e. drinking a beer with your steak may save you from cancer). Turns out sometimes tastes good really is good.

The other half is picking the right tuna, some types are much lower than others: http://www.gotmercury.org/article.php?list=type&type=75 Luckily for me a lot of the lower mercury ones are also fattier (others can and will disagree but I prefer most fattier fish).

In either case the absorption rate of ingested or loose handled mercury is much much lower than vaporous mercury so my stress level about most of that is pretty low.

Larry Edgerton
06-25-2012, 6:56 PM
I bought 2 gross of incandesents, so I am just going to wait for led pricing to come down and skip the whole vaporized mercury thing.

Mostly I resent the organization that just drove me out of the historic home restoration business coming into my home and telling me what light bulb I have to use. Out of control I tell you......

Silent protest, or just my way of saying up yours......

Larry

Pat Barry
06-25-2012, 7:32 PM
Last year at a local school someone broke a mercury thermometer. They had to EVACUATE the entire building, bring in a HAZMAT team, and it took several days to clean up and test before they would allow anyone back in. True story. This is what America has come to. Why?

ray hampton
06-25-2012, 8:04 PM
Last year at a local school someone broke a mercury thermometer. They had to EVACUATE the entire building, bring in a HAZMAT team, and it took several days to clean up and test before they would allow anyone back in. True story. This is what America has come to. Why?

this story happen pretty often and in other states, a local business call the fire dept. and complain about a strange smell, the smell were caused by the computer back-up battery, a brave fireman remove the battery to a safe house, DO ALL STORAGE BATTERIES IN CARS and other vehicles give off gas when they are in good condition ? do you have a build in garage that will permit this gas to enter your home ? I drove forklifts at work for a number of years and most of the forklift drivers would smoke while driving the batteries -equipped trucks but one thing that keep the battery smell down were the open doors

daniel lane
06-27-2012, 5:36 PM
Last year at a local school someone broke a mercury thermometer. They had to EVACUATE the entire building, bring in a HAZMAT team, and it took several days to clean up and test before they would allow anyone back in. True story. This is what America has come to. Why?

This is a more frequent CYA move since it's known that one impact from mercury exposure is on neurological development, moreso in children. In this country, if a child is showing developmental problems and it is known that they were potentially exposed to such a chemical at school, what sort of professional do you think the parents would call first:

School administrator
Developmental counselor / Tutor
Lawyer

If an incompetent user of a contractor saw bypasses and/or discards safety equipment and can still win a large settlement because the OEM didn't use overly expensive technology available on much more expensive saws, you can bet that most schools will decide that the cost and hassle of evacuations is far less than the cost and hassle of a lawsuit.

BTW, I do not necessarily agree with the action, and I am one who played with liquid mercury as a kid and don't believe that is the reason I turned out as I did. I have some CFLs in the house (with 2 young children), but prefer incandescent/halogen when it makes sense. I would love to migrate to LED bulbs, but they are too expensive for wholesale replacement at this time. (I'm in it for energy efficiency and staying off the %$@^& ladder.)


daniel

Greg Peterson
06-27-2012, 10:22 PM
BTW, I do not necessarily agree with the action, and I am one who played with liquid mercury as a kid and don't believe that is the reason I turned out as I did.

The clean up procedure is for bulbs containing vaporized mercury, not liquid mercury. Several have posted in the thread the relative harmlessness of liquid mercury, though the liquid form is probably not the best thing for children to play with.

You have oversimplified the saw blade lawsuit, and completely missed the mark. But that has been discussed in other threads. We live in a litigious society, but are you willing to surrender the means by which you and I can hold others legally responsible for their actions?

ray hampton
06-27-2012, 10:49 PM
[QUOTE=Greg Peterson;1948097]The clean up procedure is for bulbs containing vaporized mercury, not liquid mercury. Several have posted in the thread the relative harmlessness of liquid mercury, though the liquid form is probably not the best thing for children to play with.

the problem is vaporized mercury, at what temperature do liquid mercury vaporized, I saw a thermometer break when it hit the hospital floor and the quick silver roll across the floor and phew , the quick silver disappear

daniel lane
06-28-2012, 12:14 AM
The clean up procedure is for bulbs containing vaporized mercury, not liquid mercury. Several have posted in the thread the relative harmlessness of liquid mercury, though the liquid form is probably not the best thing for children to play with.

Greg, with all due respect, I never once made any comment or suggestion about light bulbs. My response was that the opined over-reaction of evacuating a school because of a broken mercury thermometer is almost certainly due to the litigious society we've bred ourselves into being. The subsequent disclaimer that my comments were made having played with liquid mercury myself was simply to point out that I was closer to that discussion than just "bystander" and also to demonstrate that I, too, do not believe that liquid mercury is as incredibly harmful as mercury vapor.


You have oversimplified the saw blade lawsuit, and completely missed the mark. But that has been discussed in other threads. We live in a litigious society, but are you willing to surrender the means by which you and I can hold others legally responsible for their actions?

Given the intelligence and the litigious mindset of the purported average American, I have done neither with respect to the precedent of bringing legal action. I chose to stay out of the tablesaw lawsuit discussion at the time, and will continue to do so in this thread. If it makes you happier if I change that particular example, how about "If a woman can spill hot coffee on herself and successfully sue a fast food chain for it..." or if you prefer, "If a woman can trip over her own toddler in a furniture store and successfully sue..."? That last one is actually false, but it is so widespread that even Snopes has a page decrying it. Point is, if the average American thinks it is true, it will encourage them to file their own frivolous lawsuits, and schools (and others) do not want even to deal with the legal costs and hassles of having a frivolous suit dismissed.

With regards to my willingness to surrender anything, respectfully I decline to get involved in that discussion, as I do not wish to hijack the OP's thread and it is irrelevant to my point (i.e. why a school would evacuate following the breakage of a mercury thermometer).



daniel

daniel lane
06-28-2012, 12:33 AM
the problem is vaporized mercury, at what temperature do liquid mercury vaporized, I saw a thermometer break when it hit the hospital floor and the quick silver roll across the floor and phew , the quick silver disappear

The boiling point of elemental mercury is roughly 674F. However, evaporation is dependent on vapor pressure, which is temperature dependent. Someone should check my quick math, but for now, for perspective:

For elemental mercury at warm room temperature (80F), the vapor pressure is roughly 0.0003% that of a standard atmosphere, which is to say that in an enclosed 10'x10'x10' space with a temperature of 80F, at equilibrium (which takes some time after breakage) there can be no more than ~1000cu.ft.*0.0003=0.3 cu.ft. (or ~8" cube) of mercury vapor. That is about 8.5L, which is about 1/3 of a mole (ideal gas), which for mercury is 200g, so that vapor would weigh about 67g. So in a 1000cu.ft. space containing roughly 78lb of air, 67g could be mercury vapor.


daniel

Chris Barnett
07-02-2012, 7:33 PM
My father spoke of large pools of liquid mercury on the basement concrete floor of the building in which he sometimes visited where he was employed in the years following WWII. Some was lost as it seeped through cracks in the concrete floor and some was recaptured for use in processes conducted in the facility. I expect it took a toll on his health since he lived for only 91 years, but that was the price to pay for winning the later war, to preclude the really big one.
But seriously, today we are not willing to state an allowable impact [put a price on] to our or our childrens' health for causes from others' actions. So, hopefully our elected officials and other smart folks will do so [look up TLV etc] with responsibility, while we stuff ourselves silly and as we push the sugars down the throats of our offspring.
Such miniscule quantities of Hg vapor may cause little harm, but I can not say or will not, it's ok to dose my child....me, no sweat....I'm full of worse industale stuff by now...like meyrury...no don't affct me, n t sofarenway.