• A study commissioned by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has drawn attention to the small quantities of mercury found in compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). The Maine study found that when broken, CFLs release mercury vapor into the air. The Maine study detected, under some circumstances, mercury levels of potential concern to young children and pregnant women.
  • Small amounts of mercury are components of all fluorescent light bulbs, including those that have been in use in offices, commercial and retail establishments, and residential basements for years. There is no known substitute.
  • CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury - typically 1/100th the amount found in mercury fever thermometers.
  • Intact CFLs pose no threat of mercury exposure and provide important benefits in reduced energy use (and lower energy costs for consumers), reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced local air pollution (particulates and other pollutants) from electric power generation.
  • Consumers should handle CFLs carefully to avoid breakage, and refrain from using CFLs in lamps that can be knocked over easily, or in unprotected fixtures where bulbs are particularly at risk of being broken in the presence of young children, as in play spaces.
  • If a CFL breaks on a floor or carpet, follow the MassDEP Guidance for Cleaning Up Broken Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.
  • As of May 1, 2008, Massachusetts law prohibits disposal of products containing mercury, including CFLs, with household trash. 
  • Intact CFLs that have burned out or are no longer wanted should be recycled. Find locations near you:   

    Image: Map of Massachusetts Mercury Recycling Drop-Off Locations