EPA Releases Updated Guidance For CFLs

by Antonio Pasolini on December 30, 2010

Via Energy Refuge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this week updated its guidance on how to properly clean up a broken compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). CFLs are widely regarded as more environmentally friendly because they save energy and last longer.

But there’s a catch: they contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. When a CFL breaks, the mercury is released as vapor, which may be toxic to humans and animals.

Some of the highlights of the updated guidance on CFL disposal include:

  • Before the cleanup, people and pets should leave the room, and windows and doors should be open. Any heating and air conditioning systems should be shut off.
  • During the cleanup, it’s important to be very careful when collecting broken glass and visible powder. The material gathered must then be placed in a sealable container.
  • After the cleanup, all bulb debris and materials used in the cleaning operation should be placed outdoors in trash containers or protected area until the materials can be disposed of properly. Keep airing the room where the break-up took place for several hours and keep the heating or air conditioning shut off for the same length of time.
  • Source: EPA

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