Fluorescent lamps: what to do if they break

Increasingly, Canadians are replacing regular incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient products, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). While their energy efficiency is being promoted, there have also been concerns raised recently about CFL use. All CFLs contain mercury as it is an essential component of the lamps.

Currently there are no alternative lighting devices that are as energy efficient and affordable as CFLs. Consumers should look for low mercury, long-life lamps and dispose of end-of-life lamps properly. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are also becoming an effective replacement technology for inefficient lamps. LEDs are currently more expensive than CFLs, but offer even greater energy efficiency and a longer lifespan. Learn about the different advantages of using LEDs.

Used CFLs must be handled carefully to ensure that they do not break or implode and release mercury. CFLs should be left intact because of the dangers associated with mercury vapours, glass shards and dust.

Although CFLs are considered safe to use, there are some steps you can take to further protect you and your family.  Know how to minimize your risk when using CFLs and get directions for clean-up if you break a CFL.

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