Question: What do you do if a mercury light bulb breaks?

Is breaking a mercury light bulb dangerous?

If you break a mercury thermometer or light bulb, a small amount of liquid mercury may spill out. Liquid mercury can separate into small beads, which can roll some distance away. The mercury may also evaporate into vapour. However, this small amount of mercury is extremely unlikely to cause problems for your health.

How do you dispose of broken mercury light bulbs?

If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash. If practical, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.

What do you do if you break a fluorescent light bulb?

Wipe up the broken glass and powder, seal them in a container and dispose of them. Check with your local government about disposal requirements. Some communities require that trashed fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center.

Is it dangerous to break fluorescent light bulbs?

Be careful not to break fluorescent tubes! Each tube contains a small amount of mercury, which can be dangerous if released into the open.

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How long does it take for mercury vapor to dissipate?

At room temperature, exposed elemental mercury can evaporate to become an invisible, odorless toxic vapor. This vapor has a very long life (up to one year) in the air.

How much mercury vapor is dangerous?

Occupational Exposure Limits

TWA (mercury vapor): 0.05 mg/m3 (skin) Ceiling: 0.1 mg/m3 (skin)

What if I vacuumed up a broken CFL?

* If you already vacuumed a broken CFL: For a recent break (within a couple of days of the break): Air out the house for up to several hours to get rid of any remaining mercury vapor and change your vacuum cleaner bag or wipe out the dust cup.

How much mercury is in a light bulb?

An average of 4 milligrams (mg) of mercury is in a CFL. A mercury thermometer may contain about 500 mg of mercury. About 500 mg to 700 mg or less of mercury is considered a small spill. Some CFLs may contain as little as 1.4 mg to 2.5 mg per light bulb.

What happens if you break a fluorescent light tube?

Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of elemental mercury, typically between 2 and 5 milligrams in common four-foot tubes and about the same for most compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. When broken, mercury vapors may be released into the air. The mercury released from broken bulb is mostly in vapor form.

Do fluorescent bulbs have mercury?

Compact fluorescents, like their tubular fluorescent precursors, contain a small amount of mercury—typically around five milligrams. Mercury is essential to a fluorescent bulb’s ability to emit light; no other element has proved as efficient. … The problem comes when a bulb breaks.

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