Avoid using compact fluorescent light bulbs in lamps children can reach; broken bulbs release mercury
My husband and I want to share a parent hack that we've learned the hard way -- If you have small children, do not put compact fluorescent bulbs in lamps that can be easily knocked over! We had CFLs in all of our fixtures to save energy and money; but when my son accidentally knocked into the floor lamp and it tumbled, the CFL bulb shattered into our carpet. Due to the risk of mercury poisoning, a broken CFL is very dangerous, especially to kids! We had to air out the room in VERY cold weather and clean up a real mess.
Do yourself a favor and spare yourself the worry of accidental mercury poisoning --- just use incandescents in lamps that kids have access to!
I'm so glad you mentioned this, Laura. I just read the EPA's mercury cleanup guidelines --a big deal indeed. Not only do you have to air out the room, but you must discard any clothing that comes into contact with broken light bulb material. Apparently, washing it could contaminate your washing machine.
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