BLOOMINGTON, IN — Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group, a leading green cleaning consultant and founder and executive director of the Green Cleaning Network, says some danger is posed if compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs break, and some cleanup precautions are called for
, according to a press release
Because CFLs contain mercury and are used extensively in schools, homes, hotels, offices and other facilities, Ashkin offers the following suggestions for proper handling and disposal of broken bulbs:
· Open the nearest window and leave the room for about 15 minutes
· Do not use a vacuum to pick up the glass fragments; this could cause mercury to become airborne. Instead, wear gloves and with a piece of cardboard, scoop up the fragments and discard in a sealed container such as a glass jar
· Use sticky tape to pick up smaller fragments and powder; place used tape in the jar as well
· Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth
· Take the cleanup materials and sealed container to a CFL recycling center.
Once the area is clear of CFL debris, it can be vacuumed; vacuum bags should be replaced after vacuuming the area, the release stated.
According to Ashkin, used vacuum bags should be placed in a sealed bag and then disposed of in a trash can.
All CFLs, which also last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs, should be recycled at the end of their lifespan, the release noted.
Several major retailers, such as Home Depot, Ace Hardware and others, provide recycling services for CFLs. For more information, visit www.earth911.org for the locations of local disposal facilities
, the release added.