BAN ON SALE OF MERCURY BULBS: Retailers that sell fluorescent bulbs will no longer be able to sell screw-based CFLs after February 17, 2023 and 4 foot general purpose fluorescent tubes after January 1, 2024.
It is extremely important that these bulbs (and other hazardous products) are disposed of properly. Visit Vermont’s Mercury Reduction Campaign website (www.mercvt.org) and the Agency of Natural Resources webpage contains additional information on fluorescent and mercury added bulbs.
Assistance from Efficiency VT: “If you have fluorescent lighting products in your home or business, Efficiency Vermont is currently offering a variety of rebates on LEDs to replace them. To learn more about Efficiency Vermont’s lighting offers, visit: www.efficiencyvermont.com/rebates. For businesses, check out www.efficiencyvermont.com/BizLighting for a more detailed list of how Efficiency Vermont can support your lighting projects. For questions or inquiries about all of Efficiency Vermont’s lighting programs, contact Colin Santee – Lighting Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org”
Most of us are aware that mercury is an extremely dangerous and harmful material and needs to be handled with the utmost care – but do you know what to do if you have a mercury spill in your home?
Mercury is less common in household products than it used to be due to rising awareness of the dangers of the element, but it can still be found in certain products, such as CFL lightbulbs, LCD screens, thermometers, and older smoke detectors.
So… what should you do if one of these items breaks and releases mercury into your home?
You can safely clean up spilled mercury at home if the amount spilled is less than two tablespoons, or one pound of mercury.
If you spill any amount of mercury, NEVER vacuum or sweep it up – this can cause the mercury to spread and evaporate more quickly, increasing the chances of breathing in harmful vapors.
If you need to clean up a small mercury spill at home, follow these steps:
Open windows to ventilate the area – put a fan in the window pointing outside, if possible.
Close the room off and block any vents or pathways to other areas of the house. Make sure children and pets are out of the room. Let the room air out for 15 minutes.
Put on disposable gloves to protect your skin from contamination.
Carefully pick up any larger pieces of broken glass and place it in a paper towel. Fold the paper towel and seal it in a Ziploc bag.
Use cardboard or a rubber squeegee to gather beads of mercury into a small pile, as well as any remaining broken glass or other materials.
Use a flashlight to look into surrounding cracks and crevices, as the light will reflect off of the mercury and make it easier to spot.
Use an eyedropper to suck up the mercury beads. Empty eyedropper into a wet paper towel. When finished, seal the eyedropper and paper towel in a Ziploc bag. Note: a broken bulb does not contain enough mercury to constitute droplets of mercury—it may appear as a white powder which can be cleaned with a wet paper towel and disposed of in the same method described above.
Use the sticky side of a piece of duct tape to pick up any small remaining bits of mercury or glass. Use new pieces of tape until all of the mercury is gone, and then seal the tape into a Ziploc bag.
Put the cardboard/squeegee and your gloves into a Ziploc bag and seal it.
Place all Ziploc bags into a larger plastic bag and tie it off. Label “hazardous/mercury debris” and dispose at a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.
If the amount of mercury spilled is more than two tablespoons, DO NOT attempt to clean it yourself – you are required to call the National Response Center on their 24/7 hotline at 1-800-424-8802.