Are the CFL bulbs dangerous since they contain mercury?
- It’s important to know that no mercury is released when CFL bulbs are in use.
- Mercury is an essential part of how any size or shape fluorescent bulb works. It allows the bulb to be an efficient light source.
- CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury - an average of 4 milligrams, about the size of a pinhead - that is sealed inside the glass tubing. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. That’s equal to the amount of mercury in 125 CFLs.
- Technology has made it possible for most light bulb makers to reduce the amount of mercury in their fluorescent bulbs.
- The average mercury content in CFLs has dropped at least 20% in the past year.
- Some manufacturers have even made further reductions, dropping mercury content to 1.0 - 2.5 milligrams per light bulb.
- Look for low-mercury information on the bulb package.
- If a CFL breaks, please refer to the EPA website on steps to clean and dispose of a broken bulb.
For more information on CFL safety, visit the ENERGY STAR® website.