Thursday, May 03, 2007

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Contain Mercury Required Special Disposal

A lady in Maine broke a compact fluorescent bulb and was given a $2,000 quote to properly dispose of it.

See Broken light bulb sparks debate from Saturday, March 17, 2007 Bangor Daily News.

■ “a Prospect [Maine] woman was told recently that it could cost $2,000 to clean up the mess left by a single shattered [compact fluorescent] bulb”
■ “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that replacing a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent can save a homeowner at least $30 in energy costs over the life of that one bulb”
■ “But these special bulbs require proper disposal”
■ “Unlike incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights contain a small amount of mercury”
■ “She called The Home Depot, where she bought the bulb, and was referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which eventually referred her to the DEP’s [Maine Department of Environmental Protection] environmental response team. A specialist who responded found mercury readings more than six times the state’s acceptable level at the spot of the broken bulb.”
■ “The specialist referred Bridges to an environmental cleanup company. The estimated cost, according to Bridges, was about $2,000”
■ “DEP officials, meanwhile, said homeowners can safely clean up broken bulbs on their own by following careful instructions and wearing gloves, safety glasses, coveralls and respiratory protection… both the DEP and federal EPA recommend removing larger pieces and placing them in a secure container. Smaller pieces and dust particles can be removed using two stiff pieces of paper, a disposable broom and dustpan, duct tape or a mercury spill kit. All items should then be placed in the secured container and brought to a local recycling facility for universal waste.”


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