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to be freaked out that I just broke one of those CFL lightbulbs in the bathroom?

(98 Posts)
kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 01:22:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TanteRose Wed 24-Aug-11 02:45:33

wellll, I just googled it, and no, you probably shouldn't have gone in there without gloves etc. and left it 15 minutes, but you did, so just make sure you ventilate the room REALLY well, wash your hands etc.

Mercury poisoning causes full-on nausea - are you feeling sick? if not, the amount in the bulbs is small so you are probably fine.

HTH smile

differentnameforthis Wed 24-Aug-11 05:20:39

I worked with mercury (dental nurse & refilling the amalgam machine was a twice weekly job) for years before all the precautions came in, and have never suffered ill effects.

You will be OK, on such a small amount & such low exposure, regardless of no containment, no gloves etc. I wouldn't worry. Unless you rolled it around in your hand. smile

You also know that it shouldn't be disposed of in a normal waste bin, don't you? I am not sure where you put it (not in UK), but it shouldn't go in your rubbish bin.

mathanxiety Wed 24-Aug-11 05:45:04

Back in the day, my mother and her siblings used to play with mercury from broken thermometers, in their bare hands. hmm

However, when DS was playing football in HS in the US he was ordered into the shade by the trainer one afternoon because she thought he was showing signs of heatstroke (blisteringly hot and wearing full helmet, pads, etc). Then she decided to take his temperature, took the old fashioned mercury thermometer out of her bag and while shaking it down, flung it accidentally on the concrete floor under the stands where DS was lying, and of course it smashed.

The whole area had to be immediately quarantined and the school had to call a HazMat team in. The entire area, the trainer, and DS had to be thoroughly decontaminated; for DS that meant stripping off, donning yellow rubber booties and having a series of immersions in giant bin bags full of water (that had to be carefully disposed of) standing in a huge barrel. Didn't see the washing of the trainer as they afforded her some privacy. The whole decontamination took about 4 hours start to finish; DS was given the all clear around 9 pm and was at that point fainting from hunger as he had thrown up his lunch earlier at the practice (they used a beeping device to measure mercury levels). In the end one of the HazMat team went off to the nearest shops and bought a loofah to speed up the washing and a cheap hair dryer to speed up the drying process. His uniform, helmet, football shoes that I had bought him, jock strap -- everything had to be disposed of by the HazMat people.

I hate those stupid lightbulbs. I think they're more trouble than they're worth. Good idea to save energy, but a poorly thought out product.

starrychime Wed 24-Aug-11 06:10:05

I didn't know about this!!! I've thrown several of these in the bin as usual. Just googled it and have learnt more about lightbulbs in the last 5 minutes than in the last 40 years! I see normal 60w bulbs are being withdrawn in September - I'm off to panic-buy a few!

kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 09:55:32

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kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 09:56:42

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JarethTheGoblinKing Wed 24-Aug-11 10:00:46

Wow, I had no idea..

Presumably if they were potentially dangerous there would be warning labels on the boxes? confused

kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 10:01:20

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LoveInAColdClimate Wed 24-Aug-11 10:02:41

Oh dear god - DH broke one of those this weekeend and I cleaned it up and chucked the bits in the bin. And I'm pregnant! I had no idea they were dangerous. Should I call midwife, do you think?

kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 10:03:08

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SardineQueen Wed 24-Aug-11 10:04:28

I used to play with mercury from broken thermometers with my bare hands too!

That brings back some memories, it's so pretty.


I think you will be fine, honest.

kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 10:05:10

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kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 10:09:40

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winnybella Wed 24-Aug-11 10:12:42

Meh. I remember little mercury balls rolling on the floor from broken thermometers. My mother used to just sweep them up. No one got poisoned.

Bulbs have over a 100 times less mercury than thermometers. Relax.

kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 10:22:50

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LoveInAColdClimate Wed 24-Aug-11 10:29:44

Argh! Argh! Argh! Phoned GP who is phoning poisons helpline. Argh! Have maimed unborn baby! Why the fuck do the bulbs not come with huge health warnings?

CustardCake Wed 24-Aug-11 10:31:17

I hate these bulbs
Apart from the weird light they give off (they are much better than they were but its still not as good as a traditional bulb) the risks and the fact that they have to be disposed of at designated places not just in household waste put me off. Not to mention that if you break one you are supposed to do a chemical-hazard style clean-up complete with evacuation then ventillation and that you can't hoover up the pieces and are supposed to use bags and gloves and masks to deal with it because the vapour is as dangerous as the liquid mercury.

For the part of the environment they are saving, all that good work must be cancelled out by mercury seeping in to soil and rivers due to people not knowing how to dispose of them properly. Not to mention petrol used driving them to the recycling places once they're finished with. I also think its a bit off to ban the other type of bulb. By all means make the mercury ones cheaper and untaxed and more attractive but I still want to be able to use to traditional ones too.

LadyThumb Wed 24-Aug-11 10:32:50


winnybella Wed 24-Aug-11 10:34:32

Yes, but the amount of mercury in one bulb is not enough to give you serious poisoning afaik and presumably you got most of it out. Anyhow, if no one is exhibiting signs of mercury poisoning at the moment, I would just go on and try to clean up a bit more and leave the windows open for a bit, but I wouldn't panic. If you were exposed to it every day it could be dangerous, but you will not get a mercury poisoning from one broken bulb.

kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 10:36:23

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kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 10:37:21

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kerrymumbles Wed 24-Aug-11 10:38:36

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AtYourCervix Wed 24-Aug-11 10:43:17

can i be a complete ignoramous and ask you what the chuff you are on about? what lightbulbs? what mercury? eh? is this something i should know about?confused

LoveInAColdClimate Wed 24-Aug-11 10:43:49

I would bin toothbrushes TBH. Am waiting for a call back from GP - unfortunately I was the one who cleaned it up, taking no precautions at all since I had no idea they were dangerous. I also just binned the bits and the bins have gone now so can't do anything about it so feel guilty about that too (although not as guilty as about having exposed baby to poison!).

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