As effective as it is at enabling white light, however, mercury—sometimes called quicksilver—is also highly toxic.
(A single thermostat switch, still common in many homes, may contain 3,000 milligrams (0.1 ounce) of mercury, or as much as 600 compact fluorescents.) The problem comes when a bulb breaks.
Is breaking a fluorescent light bulb dangerous?
It’s true that CFL bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury, sealed within the glass tubing, and it can be released as vapor after a breakage. See also: 18 ways to save on your utility costs. Mercury levels inside fluorescent bulbs are quite low.
Is breaking a CFL bulb dangerous?
Breaking a CFL can thus cause potentially toxic levels of pollution to develop, Li and Jin conclude. Other interesting factoids from their paper: — The mercury in a bulb undergoes chemical changes over time as it’s used, rendering it less toxic. In fact, most bulbs had less than 2.5 milligrams.
Can you get mercury poisoning from a broken light bulb?
What if I break a thermometer or light bulb? If you break a mercury thermometer or light bulb, a small amount of liquid mercury may spill out. Liquid mercury can separate into small beads, which can roll some distance away. However, this small amount of mercury is extremely unlikely to cause problems for your health.
Are LED lights dangerous if they break?
This makes them breakable, and when they do break, they are more dangerous than incandescents. The risk depends on what type of bulb you are dealing with. Compact fluorescent lights contain a small amount of mercury, which can be toxic if it enters your body (see References 1).
Photo in the article by “Wikimedia Commons”