CFL Bulbs… and what to do if one breaks… Info you need to know!

CFL Bulbs
CFL Bulbs

I am not a “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” type of person, so I’m not trying to scare anyone with this post, just educate so you know what to do…

The traditional light bulbs that we grew up with are now a thing of the past. They stopped manufacturing the 100 watt bulbs last year. This year the 40 and 60 watt bulbs are no longer made. I like the nice warm, yellowish light that they give off. It’s warm and cozy and makes me happy. I know that Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) bulbs are supposed to last 8 years and save you tons of money, but… I have also read about the dangers of CFL bulbs. All I can say is that I want my old incandescent bulbs back! But the Bush administration signed a law back in 2007 to replace our old traditional (incandescent) bulbs with the squirrely new CFL bulbs.  Sigh. While being more efficient sounds great, do you know the dangers of the new bulbs? Or what to do if one breaks? If a CFL breaks, you don’t just pick up the pieces like the old bulbs, AND you don’t just throw it in the regular trash!

Warning on CFL package

Note: This is the only warning on the package…

D A N G E R S 

Apparently, some health problems can be made worse by CFL light. These conditions include Migraines, Lupus and Epilepsy. If there is a defect in the bulb (which when a study was conducted and they went store to store there was a defect at every single store) then UV light can leak through causing cancer.

News from the Washington Post regarding dangers of CFL bulbs (Don’t use one anywhere near your head? Really? Don’t use at night? Really?)…

-News about a German study from The Telegraph (UK)

Now, before you read further… I also read about a guy who found a loophole around this CFL requirement, and will still make incandescent bulbs (albeit with a twist) – you can bet I’m going to be checking out the Newcandescent bulbs! (I am not being paid by Newcandescent in any way, shape or form, they have no idea who I am…). Hey, if something doesn’t happen to change this (and I doubt it will), I think I may be back to the old days with candles!

Read about what to do if a CFL bulb is broken… it’s important – (information from

Cleaning Up a Broken CFL

Steps to Take When a CFL Breaks

Broken CFL

Download and print instructions

Before Cleanup

  • Have people and pets leave the room.
  • Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.
  • Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one.
  • Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulb:
    • stiff paper or cardboard;
    • sticky tape;
    • damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces); and
    • a glass jar with a metal lid or a sealable plastic bag.

During Cleanup

  • DO NOT VACUUM.  Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken.  Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.
  • Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder.  Scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard.  Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.  See the detailed cleanup instructions for more information, and for differences in cleaning up hard surfaces versus carpeting or rugs.
  • Place cleanup materials in a sealable container.

After Cleanup

  • Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of.  Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
  • Next, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area, because some localities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center. If there is no such requirement in your area, you can dispose of the materials with your household trash.
  • If practical, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.

If you have further questions, please call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Click HERE to find the nearest place you can recycle your CFL bulb (Home Depot, Lowes in most areas…), just enter CFL in the “what” box, and type in your zip code. It will give you a list of places.

F  L A S H B A C K

O n e  Y e a r  A g o:             Featured Artist… Cynthia Reed!

T w o  Y e a r s  A g o:        Island Inn, Monhegan, Maine!

T h r e e  Y e a r s  A g o:  UPS Seasonal worker… ahh the benefits!

Catch you back here tomorrow!


5 thoughts on “CFL Bulbs… and what to do if one breaks… Info you need to know!

    1. This frustrates me, because most people don’t know about this… especially the cleanup which is a bit much… too dangerous to make it worth it! My opinion… Thanks for commenting Diane!


  1. Scott

    Once again, the loonies forced us to adopt these when polls have shown a great majority do not want to use these. We went out and purchased about 50 of the old bulbs just before jan. 1, so we won’t have to be forced to adopt this stupidity just yet. As for getting rid of the old bulbs, I guess the do-gooders (as usual) didn’t think this one out. Yeah…like everyone is going to keep them and take them all to Lowe’s or Home Depot on the next trip. Riiiigght. Not gonna happen with most people. But thanks for the heads up because most people don’t realize these contain one of the most TOXIC substances around, mercury (nothing to screw around with) and have no clue, including me, how to clean up after you bust one.


  2. Seriously.
    I’m not going to don a hazmat suit and call the environmental police.
    I broke one and I swept it up and put it in the trash.
    Give us back the ‘safer’ bulbs and stop the craziness.
    Did I just say, “Stop the craziness?”
    In my life experience so far, Not gonna happen 😦


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