Questions regarding broken compact florescent bulb - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 05-11-2011, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Ladies,


I recently broke a CFB and at the time did not know that they contain mercury. I'm worried and concerned because my little one was nearby when the lamp broke. We pretty much did everything that is advised not to do. We didn't open a window right away and swept and vacummed after the larger pieces of glass were picked up. I called several agencies including the EPA and Poison Control as well as the vacuum manufacturer. I was given conflicting information and am now really concerned and confused.


Has anyone ever had a similiar experience with these bulbs? If so, what did you do and what were you told? I am so angry not knowing that these bulbs contain mercury. We didn't leave the area right away which I find out afterwards is the first step to take. I did move my little one away from the direct area while it was being cleaned up (concerned about the glass not even knowing about the mercury) and I did end up opening windows but not until about an hour or so later when I researched the bulb and have been keeping windows open as much as possible.


Does anyone know the reason they don't recommend using a vacuum and broom? It is due to broadening the exposure of mercury or contaminating the machine? Or both? I was told by someone at the EPA as well as poison control that as long as the canister is cleaned out (we have a Dyson) and filter is changed, that is all that needs to be done yet when I called Poison Control back (forgot to ask a few questions) another person told me that the vacuum needs to be discarded (contaminated). I also contacted Dyson and they didn't seem to know much and told me to follow what I was told but which advice! I've been reading up a lot on this and most sites seem to say just to rinse the canister. Does anyone know if mercury can still linger or does it quickly pass when it vaporizes? I'm really worried and are not sure what to do. I did clean the area again using wet paper towels (even wiped down the wall and area around it). Is there anything else I should or shouldn't do? Or am I over reacting?


Sorry for the long post. I would really appreciate any advice.

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#2 of 2 Old 05-12-2011, 10:28 AM
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I'm sorry you are feeling so confused! I think you are right to be concerned and to want to do all you can to mitigate any potential harm. I'm not sure what the right advice was that was given to you, but i do know you don't just throw out a 500$ vaccuum!!! Personally I would be ok with throughly cleaning the cannister.


That's really all you can do. Now you are aware of CFB and can take proper percautions in the future. We are exposed to mercury vapors from a variety of different environmental sources. I would doubt the amount from a CFB would be that significant in the grand sceme of things. I remember playng with the mercury blobs when our thermometers broke when I was young!!

If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.

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