Posted by: The Paris Apartment | September 21, 2011

Disposing of a CFL: It’s Complicated

World powers are trying to convince us that CFL bulbs are the ‘green’ alternative and companies like GE are trying to get us to buy into their propaganda. Their goal is a CFL in every home, in every room in every country. They are not looking at what it takes to recycle and dispose of what is considered Toxic Hazardous Waste once they burn out. But that has always been GE’s MO. They have never been a company who looks at the consequences of their actions and are involved in hundreds of lawsuits for polluting waters all over the world. (Google ‘Superfund sites’ and you’ll see what they’re up to).

We’re hoping Americans will be the country to take a stand and refuse to bring these dangerous and inefficient products into their homes. Take a look at what’s needed just to cleanup a broken bulb. By the way, if one breaks on a rug, the EPA says you have to cut that part of the rug out. If it breaks on bedding or clothing, that must be discarded as washing it will pollute the runoff water and potentially poison your neighbors.

For disposal, gather the following supplies:
•  Disposable gloves
•  Flashlight
•  Duct tape or other sticky tape
•  2 index cards or stiff pieces of paper
•  Zip-lock bags
•  Damp paper towels or rags
•  Portable window fan

They are hazardous:
CFLs contain mercury
Mercury forms a damaging vapor that you can inhale.  

1.  Keep infants, small children, pregnant women, and pets out of the room where the
bulb broke.
2.  If you are pregnant, do not do the clean-up yourself.  Find someone to do the clean-up
for you.
3.  Turn off forced hot air heat, central air conditioners, and fans.
4.  Open windows to allow fresh air in.
5.  Leave the room for at least 15 minutes to allow the room to air out before beginning
Vapors can cause brain damage and seizures among other things. These bulbs are bombs
and having them in your home is a dangerous prospect. If you dispose of them in the trash
you are potentially exposing your recycling guys to danger. If you don't have a toxic
waste dump nearby you can take them to Home Depot if one is close. Having to drive these
bulbs some place for disposal is about as un-green as it gets. But if you casually toss
'just one or two' into the trash, each will contaminate 6000 gallons of groundwater.



  1. .
    _The thing I thought about most during Propaganda Week last month (1st week in Sept.) was that when the Twin Towers & Bldg 7 went down, about 200 ACRES of fluorescent lighting mercury and other poisonous dust became breatheable atmosphere for all Manhattan, for a long, long, time.
    _The rain doesn’t just wash it away.
    _And, CFL s have the highest Carbon Footprint in their life-cycle of any of the alternatives ( Incandescent or LED ).

  2. I was away for Propaganda week, darn, I missed that.
    The dust and poison in the air is showing up in the heros of that day but is mainly swept under the rug. Thanks for bringing it into the light.

  3. Re CFL mercury

    Maine State politicians did not believe the CFL breakage problem
    – and their official testing showed it was worse than they or EPA had hitherto thought!

    – also covers why the “incandescent related power plant coal release is worse ” argument does not hold up
    (and power plant mercury emissions being reduced by 90% under new EPA admin Lisa Jackson anyway, as referenced)

  4. PA
    did you see that Canada putting off the ban is now official
    – and that BC conservatives are promising to rescind their ban
    at least cross-border shopping ok, for a while 🙂

    And, as you know, maybe Texas, they are supposedly looking for manufacturers now…
    (state law allowing local incandescent manufacture passed earlier this year)

  5. …not just Canada putting off the ban 😉

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