When Your Client Ask
Risk Management Issues - Agent Disclosures - Litigation Avoidance & Risk
By Apple Home Inspections  (949)  837-7755                                    David Jones  
The information on this website is believed to be accurate, is for informational
purposes only, and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. All
information, ideas and suggestions should be verified to be correct and reviewed
with an attorney and an appropriately qualified broker, as well as an appropriately
qualified professional, who has knowledge of the subject matter.
Before Cleanup

1.        Have people and pets leave the room, and avoid the breakage area on the way out.
2.        Open a window or door to the outdoors and leave the room for 5-10 minutes.
3.        Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.
4.        Collect materials you will need to clean up the broken bulb:
  • Stiff paper or cardboard
  • Sticky tape (e.g., duct tape)
  • Damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces)
  • Glass jar with a metal lid (such as a canning jar) or a sealable plastic bag(s)

Cleanup Steps for Hard Surfaces

1.        Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and
paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a
plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)

2.        Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used
tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.

3.        Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels in the glass jar or plastic
bag.

4.        Vacuuming of hard surfaces during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other
cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or
mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all
broken glass, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;
  • Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available; and
  • Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any
    materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.

5.        Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container
or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly.
  • Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your area. Some states and
    communities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center.

6.        Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and
cleanup materials.

7.        Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for
several hours.

Cleanup Steps for Carpeting or Rugs

1.        Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place debris and
paper/cardboard in a glass jar with a metal lid. If a glass jar is not available, use a sealable plastic bag. (NOTE: Since a
plastic bag will not prevent the mercury vapor from escaping, remove the plastic bag(s) from the home after cleanup.)

2.        Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. Place the used
tape in the glass jar or plastic bag.

3.        Vacuuming of carpeting or rugs during cleanup is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other
cleanup steps have been taken. [NOTE: It is possible that vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or
mercury vapor, although available information on this problem is limited.] If vacuuming is needed to ensure removal of all
broken glass, keep the following tips in mind: ( Note some people recommend hepa filter be used )
  • Keep a window or door to the outdoors open;
  •  Vacuum the area where the bulb was broken using the vacuum hose, if available, and
  • Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and seal the bag/vacuum debris, and any
    materials used to clean the vacuum, in a plastic bag.

4.        Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials, including vacuum cleaner bags, outdoors in a trash container
or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly.
  • Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your area. Some states and
    communities require fluorescent bulbs (broken or unbroken) be taken to a local recycling center.

5.        Wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing bulb debris and
cleanup materials.

6.        Continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the H&AC system shut off, as practical, for
several hours

Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rugs: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

1.        The next several times you vacuum the rug or carpet, shut off the H&AC system if you have one, close the doors
to other rooms, and open a window or door to the outside before vacuuming. Change the vacuum bag after each use in
this area.

2.        After vacuuming is completed, keep the H&AC system shut off and the window or door to the outside open, as
practical, for several hours.

Why is it important to clean up a broken CFL properly?

CFLs and other fluorescent light bulbs contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. When a
fluorescent bulb breaks in your home, some of this mercury is released as mercury vapor. To minimize exposure to
mercury vapor, EPA recommends that residents follow the cleanup and disposal steps described on this page.


What if I can't follow all the recommended steps? or I cleaned up a CFL but didn't do it properly?

Don't be alarmed; these steps are only precautions that reflect best practices for cleaning up a broken CFL. Keep in mind
that CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury -- less than 1/100th of the amount in a mercury thermometer.
However, if you are concerned about the risk to your health from a potential exposure to mercury, consult your physician.
California Law Requires Fluorescent  Recycling

All fluorescent lamps and tubes are considered hazardous waste in California
when they are discarded because they contain mercury. (Title 22, division 4.5,
chapter 11, section 66261.50)

All fluorescent lamps and tubes must be recycled, or taken to a household
hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler (e.g., storage facility
or broker), or an authorized recycling facility.
If you break a bulb
EPA cleanup Recommendations
Caution Possible Exposure to Mercury
When mercury-containing lamps or tubes are placed in the trash and collected for disposal, the lamps or tubes are
broken and mercury is released to the environment. Mercury vapors from broken lamps or tubes can be absorbed
through the lungs into the bloodstream. People who are particularly close to the breakage are especially at risk. Mercury
from broken lamps and tubes can also be washed by rain water into waterways.
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