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- Fluorescent Light Bulb Safety Policy
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Fluorescent Light Bulb Safety Policy
What to Do if a Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks
Safety Glasses must be worn when changing any light bulb
·Safety glasses can be picked up at one of the following locations;
- Custodial Main Office
- Environmental Health & Safety
EPA is continually reviewing its clean-up and disposal recommendations for CFLs to ensure that the Agency presents the most up-to-date information for consumers and businesses.
- Learn more about compact fluorescent light bulb's from the ENERGY STAR program
- Frequently Asked Questions about Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Mercury (PDF)
- (2 pp., 71K, About PDF)
- Find fluorescent light bulb recycling programs in your area
Fluorescent light bulbs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:
- Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more, then…
- Carefully scoop up the fragments of glass, mist or wet wipe up the powder to minimize making the debris airborne, and place the debris into a bag for disposal, which should be placed in the recycling area for disposal through our recycling service, not placed in the regular trash containers.
- Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
- Do not use a regular vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
- If available, use a HEPA Vacuum to clean up small er pieces of glass and powder, then…
- Use disposable non-latex gloves, if available (i.e., do not use bare hands). Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the plastic bag.
- Place all cleanup materials in a second sealed plastic bag.
- Place the first bag in a second sealed plastic bag and put it in the outdoor trash container or in another outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal.
Note: Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a local recycling center.
- Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
4. If a fluorescent bulb breaks on a rug or carpet:
- First, remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner, following the steps above. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.
- If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, HEPA vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, the bag can then be given to EH&S with any and all contaminants for proper disposal (asbestos, lead and mercury etc.)