How to Safely Cleanup Broken Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Posted on September 27, 2016 -

As discussed in an older blog of mine (, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFBs) are extremely dangerous, and a far cry from being “green.” Following is an excerpt from my soon-to-be-published “Health Secrets Volume 2: Surviving the Modern Age”, in which I discuss the safe way to clean up after breaking one of these mercury-containing “green”  bulbs.


These so called “green” bulbs save energy; that is their claim to fame and their one advantage. However, for those of us in the temperate to cold zones, the energy saved from the light bulb will have to be replaced with an identical thermal unit of energy, acquired from conventional heating sources. So, the green light bulb is really only of value, from an energy perspective, in warm and hot areas, and in the summer for the rest of us. However, even this slight energy advantage is outweighed by the dangers that these bulbs pose.

There are three serious problems with CFBs:

  1. They put out high levels of ultraviolet radiation, enough to damage the skin if you sit too close to them, unless they are “shielded” – which appears as a cover over the familiar spiral shape.
  2. These bulbs also emit huge amounts of EMFs, which tend to have the strongest negative effect on people already ill: those with compromised immune systems, neurological disorders, or electro-magnetic sensitivities.
  3. Finally, to add insult to injury, if these green bulbs break, they release toxic amounts of mercury, and one needs to follow hazardous material clean-up protocols.

Mercury is not very green is it? Yet someone decided for you that saving energy outweighs dumping more mercury into the environment, because ultimately a lot of them are going to break and not be properly cleaned up, and many are headed for the landfill. They decided this, and then they mandated it, so that incandescent bulbs have been outlawed at the higher-wattage levels, and, supposedly, eventually all incandescent bulbs are to be outlawed – varying somewhat based on where you live.


Most major retailers that sell CFBs offer free recycling collection for unbroken bulbs. As well, there is a recycle organization in most of the Canadian provinces (and a few US states), that takes these bulbs for recycling, even if they are broken (provided that they are in a sealed plastic bag, or sealed glass container. (

The Maine State Government (providing the most thorough clean-up protocol that I could find) recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:

Personally, I would suggest using incandescent or LED lights exclusively, whenever and where ever possible.

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