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How to safely clean up broken, mercury-containing CFLs

I saw this on a comment from Laura K. on Linda of "Indigo Girl" fame's blog, and thought it was worthwhile enough to share:

I just saw a newscast about the CFLs on the news here the other week. They were saying how miniscule the amount of mercury is in it compared to the amount in the old-fashioned thermometers. I can't remember what they said, but it was a low, low amt.

They suggested (you've already cleaned up, obviously) using gloves and tape to pick up all the pieces that you can, and then a damp cloth, and then cleaning the area. They said it is NOT a good idea to vacuum it up because that disperses the particles into the air (I assume sweeping might, to some extent). So there you go, some info. for next time. I think I need to write that somewhere in my house so a well-meaning mother or mother-in-law doesn't incorrectly clean up a broken light bulb.

Hey, I think I went typo-free this time! Must be because I'm still at my school desk. :)

CFL = compact fluorescent light (for those of you who've been living under a rock as the world slowly melts into oblivion)

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The State of Maine has done a lot of work on CFL cleanup techniques. Their full report, updated in February 2008, is here:


I particularly like their suggestion about putting down a drop cloth when changing CFL bulbs to make potential containment and clean up easier.
taking notes here, as an incorrigible breaker of all things glass...
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