With the decline of mercury used in batteries, mercury-containing lamps (MCLs) and devices (MCDs) are quickly
becoming the largest sources of mercury in Florida's municipal solid waste (MSW) stream. Mercury is used in
many everyday products like fluorescent lamps, thermometers, thermostats, blood pressure manometers and pleasure
boat bilge pump float switches. Some of these products have an environmental benefit. For example, fluorescent
lamps use less energy than traditional incandescent lamps. Unless they are recycled or otherwise disposed of
properly, however, the mercury from these discarded products can contaminate the air, surface water and ground
water. Mercury contamination in Florida is most evident from the
fish consumption advisories
due to high mercury levels in certain fish in a number of Florida lakes and in the Everglades. The Florida DEP
has responded to this mercury contamination with research to better understand the problem and its causes and
with environmental controls to reduce the potential for mercury to enter the environment.
DEP ENCOURAGES THE USE AND RECYCLING OF COMPACT FLUORESCENT LAMPS
Compact fluorescent lamps reduce energy consumption and prevent greenhouse gas emissions.
Since these lamps contain a small amount of mercury that is necessary to produce fluorescent light, the lamps
should be recycled at your county's household hazardous waste program. If a compact fluorescent lamp should
accidentally break in your home, follow the cleanup guidelines listed below.
Press release on compact fluorescent lamps
for Cleaning up Broken Fluorescent Lamps
Remediation of Indoor Airborne Mercury Released from Broken Fluorescent Lamps
(June 2007). This peer-reviewed paper models the dynamics of airborne mercury potentially released from a
compact fluorescent lamp and a four foot straight fluorescent lamp in the event of breakage in a typical room in
a home. When the broken lamp is cleaned up using DEP's Guidelines for Cleaning up Broken Fluorescent Lamps and a
fan is used to increase ventilation through an open window, the room should have the same concentration of mercury
as outdoor air and be ready for re-occupancy and normal use within 30 minutes for a broken compact fluorescent and
45 minutes for a broken four foot straight fluorescent lamp.
Airborne Mercury in a Room from a Broken Fluorescent Lamp - An
This spreadsheet model was constructed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and used to estimate
the amount of time it would take for the mercury vapors from a fluorescent lamp broken in a home to clear from a
typical room. See the Department's paper Remediation of Indoor Airborne Mercury Released from Broken Fluorescent
Lamps (June 2007)
. This interactive model allows you to vary the model inputs, e.g., volume of the room, ambient
air mercury concentration, fan flow rate, to evaluate different scenarios than those selected by the Department.