Monday, January 3, 2011

EPA releases new guidelines on CFL clean up in homes

Dec. 29 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released new guidelines on how to deal with mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs that break in the home.

CFLs contain a small amount of mercury sealed in the glass tubing. When broken, some of the mercury is released as mercury vapor. The EPA said the bulb will continue to leak mercury vapor until it is cleaned up and removed from the home.

To minimize exposure, the EPA released new guidelines on dealing with a broken bulb.

First, the EPA recommends homeowners clear the room of people and pets, and then open a window or door to the outdoors for 10 minutes. Central heating and cooling systems should be turned off as well.

Next, all broken glass and visible powder from the bulb should be placed in a sealable container, along with anything used to clean up the broken bulb. The container should then be placed in an outdoor trash container or covered area until the materials can be disposed of properly.

For several hours after the breakage, continue to air out the room and leave HVAC systems off.

For detailed information on proper CFL disposal and for printable brochures, click here.

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