Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Minimize Safety, Health and Environmental Risks of Used Fluorescent Lamps: Breakage

The fact is, fluorescent lamps are fragile, and along their life cycle from manufacture to disposal—some product will inevitably break. A proven packaging configuration with a zip closure foil-plastic laminate bag is available to effectively contain mercury vapor, allowing safe transportation and storage to recycling facilities and mitigating the danger of mercury vapor exposure. However, if a lamp is broken outside of these containers—during handling and maintenance for instance—the proper steps should be taken to minimize exposure.

The EPA provides guidelines for cleaning up a broken fluorescent light, including a CFL or fluorescent bulb. First, the facility’s maintenance personnel should empty the room of people and pets, airing the area out for 15 minutes or more. The glass fragments should then be carefully picked up (with stiff paper or cardboard) and placed in a glass jar with a metal lid. Remaining fragments should be removed by the use of sticky tape, but a vacuum and/or broom should not be used. For additional information and a more complete clean-up guide, visit the EPA’s website.

Read our previous posts in this series on how to handle, store, transport and recycle used fluorescent lamps.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC


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