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Author Topic: Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs  (Read 176 times)

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Offline MariaGrceva

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Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs
« on: April 17, 2014, 06:53:17 AM »
Hello.
I've had a lot of fears lately, about various diseases but this topped all of it.
I'm scared of mercury poisoning, and frankly no one in my family believes me, since I'm 17.

I was trying to change my light bulb yesterday with a new CFL one and while trying to take it out of the box, I pressed too hard and I heard a cracking sound, like something broke. I didn't see what broke and where, but whatever broke was still in the box. I immediately  put it in a plastic bag and threw it outside of my home in a dumpster. And I washed my hands afterwards.
But I don't know which part of the bulb broke and I don't know how the whole mercury in the light bulb works but I'm extremely scared now. My mother doesn't believe in the mercury in CFL bulbs and forbade me from not staying in my room or cleaning it up (i don't know what to even clean up, there were no pieces that fell from it)

I tried searching on the internet but I don't know how this works. Is the mercury in the bulbs liquid like in the thermometers and could small drops fall down? I tried searching the area with a flash light and couldn't see anything.

I'm tired of making excuses where to go just so I won't stay in my room up to a point where I was so scared to go in there I sat in the park on the cold weather for 2 hours. I don't know what to do and if there is some mercury in my room that can harm me.
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Offline Roman

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Re: Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 09:03:24 AM »
Maria the average amount of mercury from the bulb is between 4 to 5 mg. That is a very small amount considering that it is 1% of the mercury used in the old style thermometers, and when those broke I used to play with the mercury and watch it roll across the floor lol. Don't wory too much you stated that you didn't find any so that's a good thing just air out your room for 5 to 10 mins and make sure there is no broken glass which you already did and you stated that you didn't see any mercury so I think everything OK don't worry. Have a great day
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Offline Keyser Söze

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Re: Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 09:08:46 AM »
I used to smash old TL-Lights all the time at my old job and on several occasions I cut myself. I never noticed anything strange. They are also often used by stunt people and others nuts to entertain crowds. They cut themselfs all the time, but I never heard of any of them dying. I think you will be fine. In some countries they even drink pure mercury for their health (I don't know if that would be a good idea).
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Offline Sunlover

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Re: Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 09:18:59 AM »
I don't know what's inside either.  However  I know that we had a contractor working in our basement and I heard something smash, he knocked one of those HUGE fluorescent tubes out of a light fixture down there.  He didn't come running up or even CLEAN it up (yea, he left if for US!  I ended up sweeping it up and bagging it.)   I was wondering just like you, is there a powder in there or what?  I saw nothing, just broken glass)  Anyway, I'm sure these guys know if it was that bad.  And since I am a lot older I recall in school the janitors would come into the classrooms with the kids and change out those flickering florescent bulbs.  I am SURE one or 2 must have dropped in that time. 
(My neighbor - who is 50, is a hypo and he will call me with worries, and the other week it was the same as you!  He broke one of those squiggly bulbs and he called me in a panic.)  Science already know so much about those florescents and if there was that kind of danger they'd be pulled off the market.
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Offline MariaGrceva

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Re: Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 10:35:31 AM »
Thank you for the replies.
I didn't find any pieces or anything on the ground but I still worry.
I guess I should stop being scared since my father used to use mercury in some things he made when I was little, but a great amount of mercury and was always in the house and we were fine.
This HA mind will be the end of me....
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Online BrookeAshley1

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Re: Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 11:13:29 AM »
I broke one of these before... so i think i can give you some insight.

Mine actually broke in half and pieces fell onto my bed. I have a young daughter so mercury kinda freaked me out. I was told to call poison control for guidelines so i did. They basically said that anything the broken glass touches, should be thrown out and to not vacuum, but instead use pieces of sticky tape to pick up any pieces that are too small to pick up by hand. I just kinda threw away the blanket and used a lint roller around the area. Then i vacuumed really well.

If you didn't even drop any pieces, then you're perfectly fine. Its really more of an issue with small kids. And even then, as long as its cleaned up and not left to sit there, its really ok. Don't worry on it anymore :)
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Offline MariaGrceva

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Re: Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2014, 05:43:34 PM »
Thank you for the reply.
There is no poison control in my country, and sadly my mother made me vacuum my room, including the bed where this happened. And there is no way that she will allow me to throw away the blanket.
However I don't think there were pieces of the bulb that fell down. I looked over and over with a flash light and didn't see anything.
It was really just a crack sound somewhere in the package and I didn't even see it break. It also seemed pretty attached when I tried moving it as i went to throw it away. I doubt anything fell out of the package, since it would be ridiculously small.
Someone replied here that it has only 1% mercury in a bulb compared to thermometers, so I guess even if there are really small pieces they won't be really harmful. I can't clean up more than this, and i don't know if the vacuum did worse but I guess I'll have to settle for my situation.
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Offline Faron79

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Re: Scared from mercury poisoning from CFL bulbs
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2014, 11:53:21 PM »
This is almost funny to ME!
I work in a busy Hardware/Decorating/Power-Eq./Home-furnishings/high-end BBQ/-store (not a big-box).
Various lighting company-reps, and other people familiar with the "bulb" industry tell us....

"There's more mercury in your TOOTH fillings than there ever was in any kind of light-bulb."

I'm 52, & have a few "silver" fillings. You'd have to be lunching on bulb-residue every day for some time to get harmed. I've swept-up bulb-dust a thousand times over the years & I'm fine!

This issue has been SO overblown since the CFL's came out.

Faron

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