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Tuesday's Ask the Experts: Fluorescent lightbulb disposal

May 31, 2011
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Friday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: I came across a job that will need to be cleaned to get it ready for rental soon. There are several of what I think are broken fluorescent light tubes. What would be the best way to clean the mess up and dispose of them? I usually take them to a recycling company, but they were always intact and not broken. Is there a breathing risk when using a shop vac when cleaning them up?
The answer:
Let me answer you straight from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website:
“Clean up broken lamps promptly, placing shards and spilled powder in a puncture-resistant, sealed plastic bag or bucket. Wear gloves and use a damp cloth to remove the powder. Place all clean-up materials in a separate sealed container. Never vacuum lamps; it will simply spread the mercury vapor. You may recycle broken lamps at the same facility as your intact lamps. Do not throw them in the regular trash.”
Also, look at ... — Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX editor
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