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Hazardous Waste Warning works best in modern browsers like Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer 8. All are free to download and will greatly improve your internet experience. Wastes in this section are dangerous to you and the environment. Handle them carefully and dispose of them properly. Legally, households may not transport more than 15 gallons of wet or 125 pounds of dry hazardous materials. Read about the regulation.

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Handling Instructions for CFLs

Be careful not to break compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)! Each CFL contains a small amount of mercury, which can be dangerous if released into the open.

What if my bulb breaks?

Please take a look at our Broken Fluorescent Light Bulb Cleanup page for more information.

Really, these lights contain mercury?

Yes, mercury vapor is used to transport electrical currents through the light bulb. Even though the amount of mercury is relatively small, CFLs must still be disposed of as hazardous waste. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can cause severe damage to the brain, nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and other vital organs. Pregnant women, infants, and young children are especially at risk.

How should I store and transport my old CFLs?

Place your used CFLs in a sturdy container that has a lid; a box or bucket works well. Remember to keep the container in a safe spot, away from children and pets. When you're ready to head to a collection facility, put the container in your trunk or back seat, making sure to secure it so that it doesn't shake or tip over.

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