Fluorescent Breakage

How to clean-up after a fluorescent or compact fluorescent lamp breakage

If a fluorescent lamp is broken it is unlikely to cause any health problems but it is good practice to minimise any unnecessary exposure to the very small amount of mercury they contain and to reduce the likelihood of harm from glass fragments by following this clean-up procedure.

Vacate the room and allow it to ventilate for 15 minutes.

For breakages on hard surfaces, scoop up pieces of broken glass and powder using stiff paper or cardboard, wipe the area with a damp cloth then place debris and cleaning materials in a plastic bag and seal it.

For breakages on soft surfaces, sticky tape can be used to pick up small residual pieces or powder and can then be sealed in a plastic bag.

If it is also necessary to use a vacuum, remove the vacuum bag after use (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Ideally the plastic bag used for the debris should be air tight and sturdy to prevent cuts from broken glass. An alternative is to use a glass jar with a metal lid to contain the material.

Wash your hands.

Do NOT dispose of lamps and materials in your household waste.

Fluorescent lamps are subject to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations. All broken or used lamps should be taken to a collection facility at the local civic amenity or recycling site and disposed of in the appropriate area for fluorescent lamps. Contact your local authority to find your nearest facility.