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Steps to take in case a CFL / Mercury lamp breaks

If a lamp with mercury content breaks, you should follow the steps/procedure hereunder:

  • Keep calm and remember that this lamp only contains very few mercury.
  • If the lamp is broken within the lighting fixture please make sure that mains voltage is switched off to avoid any electrical shock.
  • Please use a stiff paper or cardboard, damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces) or a sticky tape to clean up broken pieces and dust.
  • Air out the room by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.
  • Collect all pieces of the broken lamp, if possible not by vacuum cleaner. Please use a broom if possible.
  • Only use vacuum cleaner if there is no other possibility such as on a carpet or similar. If using a vacuum cleaner, please dispose the vacuum cleaner bag after cleaning.
  • Please be careful not to cut yourself with the glass pieces of the lamp.
  • Place all bulb pieces 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.
  • Dispose the broken lamps and fragments and cleanup materials properly at your local recycling center.

Text Source for this information: Hessisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Energie, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz, Referat VIII 3: Energietechnologien, Netzintegration der erneuerbaren Energien (December 2010)

Please find more useful information how to react when a mercury lamp has been broken under the following links:

Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environment Agency):

Press release dated August, 25th, 2011:

Press release dated 02.12.10:

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