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Breaking BlackLight Bulbs... Danger? Special clean-up?

Discussion in 'Beginners Area' started by lilreddgirl, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. lilreddgirl

    lilreddgirl New Member

    My question here is not about using the bulbs, but about it breaking... MY blacklight bulb just broke on the kitchen floor and I just paper towel wiped it and threw it away...

    Am I in danger of having given myself mercury toxicity?

    I just read a comment on Ubiquination 24 Blog:
    "C. HENRY SAYS:October 27, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Dr. K. I think these spiral CFL black light bulbs are not desirable because CFL lamps contain toxic mercury (it’s in a vapor and phosphor powder form– a ‘mini-hazmat’ cleanup chore if one breaks– it happened to me on a standard CFL)... "

    Dr. K answers that he only tells folks to avoid USING the bulbs if they have a documented mercury toxicity. https://forum.jackkruse.com/index.php?threads/are-the-mercury-vapour-reptile-sun-lamps-safe.17233/

    But if we're not talking about just using it intact, and one actually BREAKS... is there danger of having contaminated myself? Is special clean-up an issue?
  2. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    They need special disposal. Google directions or call manufacturer for recs.
  3. lilreddgirl

    lilreddgirl New Member

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  4. Scompy

    Scompy Gold

    You just reminded me of The Top 3 accidents when I worked in chemistry labs in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s:

    1. Bunsen Burners Fails: The weekly fragrance of burning hair was commonplace. Once smelled, you'll never forget that aroma. One time part of a laboratory bench caught fire becasue of spilled 95% ethanol, but that was pretty minor compared to watching someone's head catch fire.

    2. Acts of Thermometer Destruction: At least 1/week, I'd have to clean up a student's mercury spill. I had a special hood reserved just for this reason. It was a two-step process. First, I'd gather all broken pieces into beaker and set that aside for later. As I picked up each piece (with proper lab-gear on), I had a special bulb apparatus that I could suck up the mercury naturally with vacuum suction. Luckily mercury liquid beads nicely. But often, students would break a thermometer around a lab-trough, so I'd have to get a flashlight and be methodical to scan over the whole area as best I could. Then Part 2 was taking the partially broken thermometers into the hood and work on each broken piece to get the mercury collected.

    3. Pasteur Pipette Wounds (AKA the SUPER SLIVERS). Almost invisible to the eye, they are long and sharp, they are made of glass and commonplace in a lab-setting... No, nothing could go wrong! I often witnessed hits to the fingers, hands or arms, but over 7 years in labs, I saw a few impailings to the body, lots of leg-pokes and even a few students to go to the hospital due to glass breaking off deeper inside that needed someone else to remove it.
  5. lilreddgirl

    lilreddgirl New Member

    Am feeling pretty bummed about not knowing about this issue ahead of time. I just paper towel picked up the pieces - no hood here - when it broke a couple days ago... there was no powder to be seen. Who knows if I inhaled the mercury vapor. Just hope I'll be ok, I guess, no way I know to tell now, super mad :(

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