This is why we plan to stock up on incandescent bulbs before 2012:
Despite a congressional mandate banning the sale of common incandescent light bulbs by 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is warning that their compact fluorescent replacements are not safe to use everywhere.
The EPA says breakage of the energy-saving, mercury-containing CFLs can cause health hazards, especially for children and pregnant women, suggesting use of the bulbs over carpeted areas should be avoided. If bulbs break over carpeted areas, the cleanup may require cutting out pieces of the carpet to avoid toxic exposures.
Not so fast! Recommended cleanup procedures include keeping people away from broken CFLs. So just how do you clean up the pieces if you’re not supposed to go near them to avoid being poisoned?
The Mercury Project offers these helpful hints if you break a CFL in your home:
- Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the breakage. This will spread the mercury vapor and dust throughout the area and could potentially contaminate the vacuum.
- Keep people and pets away from the breakage area until the cleanup is complete.
- Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container, preferably a glass container with a metal screw top and seal like a canning jar. A glass jar with a good seal works best to contain any mercury vapors inside.
- When a break happens on carpeting, homeowners may consider removing throw rugs or the area of carpet where the breakage occurred as a precaution, particularly if the rug is in an area frequented by infants, small children or pregnant women.
- Finally, if the carpet is not removed, open the window to the room during the next several times you vacuum the carpet to provide good ventilation.
Why would I want to bring something this poisonous into my home? Do you think it’s possible that corporate interests pushed this through Congress because they’ll make a boatload of money by selling billions of CFLs to Americans *cough* GE *cough* Wal-Mart *cough cough*?