Sunday, March 21, 2010

Green Safety at Home-Fluorescent Lights

As families turn to "green" ways to improve their household (and to save money!), many have chosen to start using fluorescent lights in their home.  But are you aware of their health consequences if they shatter?  Did you know there is some mercury inside that is toxic?  First of all, it's important to know how to dispose of them properly when they burn out.  Here in Tallahassee, we can recycle and dispose of them properly by bringing them to our city's hazardous waste center off Apalachee Pkwy. 

But secondly, it's important to clean them up properly if it breaks in your home. Today, one of ours shattered and I honestly didn't know what to do. SO, I looked it up and was surprised to learn what I found. Note: The bold is my emphasis. 

According to National Geographic, "...the greatest danger may be the broken glass.  But to minimize exposure to mercury vapor, EPA and other experts advise a few precautions.

Children and pets should stay away from the area, the agency says, and windows should be opened for at least 15 minutes so that vapors may disperse. Cleanup can be done by hand using disposable materials, the experts add.
'Use rubber disposable gloves and scoop up the materials with stiff paper or cardboard,' Bender said. 'Use sticky tape to pick up small pieces and powder, clean the area with a damp paper towel, and dispose of the materials in an outside trash can.'
'Never use a vacuum,' Hogue added. 'This, he said, will only disperse the mercury vapor and leave particles trapped inside the cleaner bag.'


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