FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
May 27, 2008 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford - The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has joined with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in educating the public about the benefits and proper handling of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, or CFLs, to protect people and the environment. CFLs have become a popular way to provide light, while reducing energy consumption. However, it is important that people are aware that CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and must be handled and disposed of properly to avoid an unnecessary mercury release.
“The proper disposal and clean-up of broken compact fluorescent light bulbs is important due to the mercury vapor that can be released by a broken bulb,” stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. “While the amount of mercury released by a broken bulb is very small and may not affect most people, even small exposures can affect the developing brain and central nervous system in fetuses and young children. Pregnant women and young children should be sure to stay out of a room where a compact fluorescent light bulb has been broken until several days after it has been cleaned up.”
DPH has developed a fact sheet to instruct people in the proper way to clean up a broken CFL themselves. Following the department’s steps for cleaning up broken CFLs is the best way to protect everyone in the home. Pregnant women, children, and pets should be kept away from the area that the bulb is broken so that they do not breathe any mercury vapor, and do not track mercury to other parts of the house on shoes or paws. Studies have shown that leaving the room for 15 minutes right after the bulb breaks can lower a person’s exposure to mercury vapor. When re-entering the room to start cleaning up, it is very important to not use a vacuum cleaner to pick up the broken glass and debris. Pregnant women should not perform the clean-up because mercury vapor may affect the unborn baby.
The CFL clean-up fact sheet, “Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: What To Do If A Bulb Breaks,” may be found under “Featured Links” on the DPH website at www.ct.gov/dph.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.