Getting rid of light bulbs and CFLs

Ever wondered where that light bulb you threw into the trash can goes? How about the flourescent lamp you just left for the garbage men to collect? Incandescent light bulbs do not pose a serious health threat but compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are known to contain mercury, a known hazardous material. Mercury can be a serious health threat, especially to women and children. Some studies suggest that mercury may affect the heart and circulatory system. Some sources claim that mercury may also affect fetal development.

Although the mercury contained in CFLs may be small, the amount of this substance accumulates as we discard more and more of these light bulbs. There is also the danger of mercury from discarded items such as light bulbs and fluorescent lamps getting into our water supply. It takes only one fluorescent lamp to pollute 6,000 gallons of water.

In disposing light bulbs, make sure you wrap them in newspaper before placing them in a marked box. Make sure that you send them to a recycling center. In case of broken bulbs or lamps, never use the vacuum cleaner or the broom. Immediately turn off fans or air conditioners to help prevent the mercury from being airborne.

These simple tips can be done by the average household member but they certainly go a long way in helping keep our environment safe.

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