Quick Answer: Can the mercury in a light bulb hurt you?

Can you get mercury poisoning from a light bulb?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) contain small amounts of mercury. A small percentage of this mercury can be released into the air if the bulbs are broken. … Mercury can cause poisoning in some circumstances. Even so, people are encouraged to replace their “old fashioned” incandescent bulbs with CFLs.

What should I do if I break a mercury light bulb?

Remove children and pets from the room, and then clean up the broken bulb as quickly as possible. First, increase the ventilation in the room where the bulb broke by opening windows and doors. Then use index cards or other stiff paper to pick up the broken pieces of glass and any visible mercury.

What happens if you breathe in a broken fluorescent bulb?

Persons in rooms after breakage of a CFL may be exposed to mercury by inhalation and by oral intake. After inhalation, more than 80% of inhaled Hg0 vapour is absorbed by the lungs. Ingested Hg0 is poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract (less than 0.01%).

Is it bad to inhale a broken light bulb?

Once broken, a compact fluorescent light bulb continuously releases mercury vapor into the air for weeks to months, and the total amount can exceed safe human exposure levels in a poorly ventilated room, according to a new study.

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How much mercury is in a light bulb?

An average of 4 milligrams (mg) of mercury is in a CFL. A mercury thermometer may contain about 500 mg of mercury. About 500 mg to 700 mg or less of mercury is considered a small spill. Some CFLs may contain as little as 1.4 mg to 2.5 mg per light bulb.

Does mercury evaporate?

Mercury is a shiny, silvery liquid metal that can cause serious health problems. Liquid mercury vaporizes (evaporates) at room temperature causing elevated levels of mercury in indoor air. Mercury vapor is not irritating and has no odor, so people do not know when they are breathing it.

How long does mercury stay in the body?

Mercury does not stay in the body forever. It takes about six months to a year to leave the bloodstream once exposure stops. Some researchers think mercury can permanently damage the nervous system in children.