DTI to consumers: Handle broken CFLs with caution PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 17:14

The Department of Trade and Industry cautions the public from mishandling broken compact flourescent lamps (CFL). This is because CFLs contain mercury, a potentially dangerous substance when inhaled, ingested or leached into the environment.

The DTI also reminds the public to patronize only CFLs with Philippine product standards (PS) or import commodity clearance (ICC) marks to ensure that these products passed the Philippines’ and international safety standards.

DTI-9 Regional Director Nazrullah Manzur said that the mercury in CFLs is very minimal and safely contained in intact bulbs. However, when broken, extra care must be exercised in its disposal.

Manzur cited the following steps recommended by Snopes.com in disposing broken CFLs:
1. Before clean up, ventilate the room. Open a window and don’t allow anyone including pets to enter the room for 15 minutes. Shut off the room’s aircon unit.
2. Wear gloves, overalls or old clothing and dust mask to prevent inhalation of the phosphor/mercury powder.
3. Do not use a vacuum cleaner or broom to clean up the broken bulb on surfaces.
4. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid or in a sealed plastic bag.
5. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them together with the glass shards in the covered bottle or plastic bag.
6. Place all cleanup materials outside the building in a secure trash container and label it “universal waste – broken CFL” if there is no local recycling facility in your area.

“CFLs save consumers money as they are safe to use, more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and they last much longer. Just be extra careful in handling them particularly when accidentally broken,” Manzur said. — LSV