Let’s be realistic – all of us are trying to save some money every way we can, including replacing the regular lightbulbs with those low-energy white light bulbs. No harm in that, right? Well, not according to a study from the Fraunhofer Institute at the Klauditz Wilhelm Federal Environment Agency from Germany. Scientists from the institute have conducted a study which discovered that the bulbs release 20 times more than the allowed concentration of mercury in the air, which is a big concern.
The low-energy bulbs have been found to cause anxiety, migraines, headaches, fatigue, convulsions and loss of focus among the participants in the study. Mercury is a heavy metal and a powerful neurotoxin that can seriously harm the health of children and pregnant women. The heavy metal is especially toxic to the brain, liver, kidneys and nervous system and may also affect the reproductive, cardiovascular and immune systems. Mercury has also been found to cause neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
In case one of these light bulbs breaks and the poisonous gas is released, you must follow an emergency procedure like in the following steps:
- Every person and pet must leave the room;
- Open a window or a door and let the room air for 5-10 minutes;
- Turn off your air-conditioning or central forced air system;
- Start collecting the required materials for cleaning the broken bulb pieces – a wet paper towel, glass jar with a metal lid, carboard and adhesive tape. Now you’re prepare to clean the mercury.
Avoid using the vacuum as it will spread dust that contains mercury or mercury vapor, which could be equally dangerous. Be careful when picking up the broken glass and the dust – pick them up with sticky paper or carboard, and pick up the small remaining pieces with adhesive tape, then put it in the jar and close it – make sure that the jar has been sealed off hermetically. After the cleaning process, put all the broken pieces and the dust in an open air container and protect the area until they can be disposed of.
It’s very important to follow this emergency procedure if a low-light energy bulb breaks in your home. Failure to do so can have serious consequences on your health and your family’s health as well.