Header image link

Link >>>>>>

Thursday, May 15, 2014

*sniff *... * sniff * ..hmmm I smell mercury....

Oh Noes!!  What do I do now? *Runs in circles screaming*

I know... I'll check the internets.......

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.

I'm on it......................  be back later, if I don't get these symptoms:

Symptoms of methylmercury poisoning may include impairment of peripheral vision; disturbances in sensations ("pins and needles" feelings); lack of coordination; impairment of speech, hearing, walking; and muscle weakness.

Gosh, that sounds like I get mercury poisoning every weekend?


  1. In a high school science class back in the 80s, the teacher gave every lab stations a bit of mercury to play with. We pushed it around with pencils and our fingers. I don't remember any HazMat teams. :) We just pushed it over onto a piece of paper and poured it back into the bottle.

    1. Same here. In fact a lot of people I know around 50 years old had similar experiences. Some kids even touched it. No one I know died or went crazy from it.. By the way, a great way to make those old burned out florescent light tubes fit into the garbage can better is to put them into the trash can and then bust them with a hammer.


Leave us a comment if you like...