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Hazmat training suit

Beam me up Scotty

I get an e-newsletter from one of my suppliers that seems to have very little to do with what they sell: nuts, bolts, really cool linear motion bearings, etc. I usually toss it after glancing at the articles. But today, they had an article on CFL’s (compact fluorescent lamp) that scared the bejesus out of me!

Let me tell you, you DON’T want to break one of those cute little curly cues.

broken cfl

Smashed to bits! Run for your lives!

So, here’s what you should do to clean up a broken bulb according to the EPA:

1) PANIC! (no not really). Have people & pets leave the room.
2) Air out the room for 5-10 minutes via open window/exterior door.
3) Shut off HVAC.
4) Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulb (Like your spare hazmat suit).

5) Be thorough in collecting broken glass & visible powder. (DON’T SNORT! In fact, don’t even breathe. Don’t use your hands, don’t vacuum.)
6)  Place cleaned up & cleanup materials in a sealable container (TWO zip lock bags.)

7) promptly place all bulb debris & cleanup materials outdoors in a trah container or protected area until they can be “disposed of properly”. (That would mean driving 100 miles to our local toxic waste site.) Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
8) FOR SEVERAL HOURS, continue to air out the room with HVAC off. (Don’t want to break one of these in the dead of winter or in August, huh?)

I tell ya, that’s some pretty scary stuff.
To see that I’m not really lying about this, you can check it out yourself at: http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html

We live in California, where these bulbs are becoming mandatory We also live about 10 miles from a nuclear power plant that rests on several earthquake faults. I might be inclined to move a little closer to the plant so we can read at night from the glow of the radiation rather than have to buy CFLs.  Candles might be a good option too.

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