Large fluorescent tube broken. How do I ensure I don't die of mercury poisoning?
May 4, 2008 11:07 PM Subscribe
Fluorescent tube (large one) broke in kitchen. I am freaking out now and didn't follow proper procedures to clean it up. Am I going to get sick and die of mercury poisoning?
posted by rainygrl716 to home & garden (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I read on here recently of a woman who broke a compact fluorescent tube in her bedroom. Well tonight I ended up breaking one of the large fluorescent tubes in my kitchen. This light hadn't been working (it had burned out) and I was trying to replace it.
It shattered everywhere: in my sink, in my cats bowls, some went on the carpet. Most ended up on the hard kitchen floor. I freaked out and didn't follow proper procedures (vent area, use gloves, etc). I just started cleaning it up with a hand-held broom. Also, when attempting to leave the area, I stepped on some of the glass (it was unavoidable) and small shards went into my foot.
I opened the windows but my apartment gets poor ventilation and there are no windows directly in the kitchen.
I ended up sweeping up all the large glass pieces and removing them from the house. I threw away the cats dishes, all the dirty dishes that had been in the sink at the time, mopped the floor, and took tape to the carpet that is immediately in front of the kitchen. I threw away the broom I used to sweep up the glass as well. I also took some tape to the floor after I was done mopping to help ensure I removed all glass.
This was a Sylvania Fluorescent 40W tube. I am incredibly worried about the mercury exposure and if I did an adequate job of cleaning. Some of the glass fell down the garbage disposal (little pieces of it). Also, I am worried that I may have gotten little shards of the glass in my foot. Should I go to the emergency room? I don't know if I am making too big of a deal out of this.
I did not notice any powdery substance from the broken tube or glass, nor did I see any visible signs of solid mercury. This light hadn't been operational in weeks, so it hadn't been on recently so I don't think the mercury would be in a gaseous state.
I am freaking out here and don't know what else to do to ensure my pets are okay and I am okay. Any advice? Have I created a hazardous living environment?