EPA Fluorescent-Light Bulbs





Mercury is a natural element that has many uses. However, mercury is a powerful neurotoxin and causes a variety of adverse health effects due to exposure. Those who are at most risk from mercury exposure are pregnant women and developing children.  These types of light bulbs also contain arsenic, lead, and older ballasts release PCBs.

It is Illegal to Discard Fluorescent Light Tubes / Lamps in the Trash According to the California EPA!  

“A fluorescent light tube in your dumpster is a violation of the hazardous waste laws. Violation of these laws can result in large fines and criminal prosecution.  Fluorescent tubes contain mercury and become hazardous wastes when they no longer work. Mercury poses especially serious hazards to pregnant women and small children. Nonworking tubes must be recycled by an authorized recycling firm and cannot be discarded in the trash…”           


EPA INFORMATION on Fluorescent tubes and bulbs and other mercury-containing lamps: 

These types “…Include Fluorescent light tubes and bulbs, high intensity discharge (HID), metal halide, sodium and neon bulbs.  These lights contain mercury vapor that may be released to the environment when they are broken.  Mercury is a toxic metal that can cause harm to people and animals including nerve damage and birth defects.  If mercury is released into the environment it can contaminate the air we breathe and enter streams, rivers and the ocean, where it can contaminate fish that people eat.           


When a fluorescent or other type of energy efficient light bulb breaks please refer to the following guidelines found on this website which include but are not limited to the following:           


  • Open all doors and windows to ventilate the area for at least 15 minutes.
  • Turn off your AC/Fan/Heater so as not to circulate any mercury vapor. 
  • Young children and pregnant women should leave the area during cleanup. 
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as a dust mask and gloves to keep bulb dust and glass from being inhaled or contacting your skin.
  • Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container. Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust.
  • It is recommended that you use two stiff pieces of paper such as index cards or one of the many commercial mercury spill kits available. 
  • Put all material into a sealed container. 
  • Pat the area with the sticky side of duct, packing or masking tape.
  • Wipe the area with a damp cloth. 
  • Put all waste and materials used to clean up the bulb in a secure closed container and label it "Universal Waste - broken lamp".
  • Take the container for recycling to the household hazardous waste facility nearest to your location.


This Section of the Agriculture Defense Coalition Website gives the public information on the hazards of new types of light bulbs that are  finding their way into our homes, businesses, and schools.

The documentation below is from the EPA, studies, government documents, legislation, and other information which everyone will need to protect our environment, our homes, and our health.

The U.S. Government has decided to ban incandescent light bulbs and they will be totally removed from sale in the U.S. in 2012.  A whole new range of light bulbs from China and other foreign countries will be sold here without the benefit of quality controls that would be required if these light bulbs were manufactured in the United States. 


Our government has also placed every home, school, and business with requirements to use this type of lighting without providing proper warning labels in large print on their containers.  Locla and state govenment agencies should also provide free hazmat recycling of broken and burned out bulbs. 


All emergency personnel, firemen, ambulance drivers, hospitals, police, and other workers should be trained and quipped to handle light bulb hazmat emergencies that will arise due to the usage of these types of light bulbs...these include, but are not limited to fires, broken bulbs, and disposal.


See the PDF Files below for more information on these types of light bubls.  It is important that we are informed and know what to do in case of fire, broken bulbs, and disposal of these new types of light bulbs.



44 1A 2011 California Public Utilities Commission Information+How to File a Complaint.pdf

44A 2007 Fluorescent Light Bulb Warning NWV May 2007 Article by Rosalind Peterson.pdf

44A 2007 Fluorescent Light Bulbs 2007 EPA Illegal to Discard CA Law - Important Information.pdf

44A 2010 EPA Improves Guidance for Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs December 28, 2010 IMPORTANT.pdf

44A 2010 U.S. EPA News Release National Guidance to Address PCB-Containing Fluorescent Lights DEC 29, 2010 IMPORTANT.pdf

44A1 2011 NWV EPA Warns Public About Mercury+PCBs in CFL-Fluorescent Light Bulbs-Hazmat Recycling Required JAN 29, 2011.pdf

44B 2008 Maine Compact Fluorescent Lamp Breakage Study Report February 2008 Appendix E-Revised Cleanup Guidance.pdf

44B 2008 Maine Compact Fluorescent Lamp Breakage Study Report February 2008 Executive Summary.pdf

44B 2008 Maine Compact Fluorescent Lamp Breakage Study Report February 2008 Full Report.pdf

44B 2010 EPA Mercury Releases+Spills-Fluorescent Light Bulbs+Other Mercury Containing Items March 21, 2010.pdf

44C 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs Mercury Poisoning May 3, 2009 Health Hazards-So-Called Green Lightbulb Poisons Workers.pdf

44C 2010 Beware of Globe Light Bulbs from China-Many Problems Photograph.pdf

44C 2010 Counterfeit Goods Produced by China+Other Countries Brake Pads, Computer Parts, Baby Formula, Shoes+More NYTimes AUG 19, 2010.pdf

44C 2010 How Innovation Killed the Lights+Outsourced GE Jobs to China September 8, 2010The Washington Post.pdf

44C 2010 Save the Light Bulb-Fluorescent Light Bulbs Manufacturing Outsourced to China AOL Opinion SEPT 24, 2010.pdf

44D 2009 Fluorescent Light Tubes + Bulbs Illegal to Discard in Trash CA EPA 2009.pdf

44D 2007 EPA Hazardous Waste Fact Sheet Light Bulbs 2007 Fluorescent+LED+Other New Types of Bulbs.pdf

44D 2008 EPA June 24, 2008 Fluorescent Light Bulbs Mercury Disposal.pdf

44D 2009 EPA Fluorescent Light Bulbs - Mercury Disposal - September 2009.pdf

44D 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs-Illegal to Dump in Trash CA EPA July 29, 2009.pdf

44D 2011 Binmen Refusing to Pick up Toxic New Fluorescent Light Bulbs in UK MailOnline News March 6, 2011.pdf

EPA & California Department of Toxic Substances Control Final Report on Mercury August 2002
Note:  Energy Efficient Light Bulb Hazards include Mercury, Arsenic, Lead & Possible PCBs in older ballasts.
See California EPA Website for more information:  http://www.calepa.ca.gov

44E 2007 EPA FACT Sheet 2007 Light Bulbs Health Risks.pdf

44E 2009 EPA Fluorescent Light Bulbs - What if one Breaks or Explodes September 2009.pdf

44E 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs CA EPA July 2009 Information.pdf

44E 2010 California to Phase Out Incandescent Light Bulbs December 20, 2010 California Watch News.pdf

44E 2011 California EPA Restrictions on use of Certain Hazardous Substances in General Purpose Lights FEB 9, 2011 RoHS_Lighting.pdf

44E 2011 U.S. FTC New Labels for Light Bulb Packaging-Mercury Label Not Good Enough Due to New EPA Hazard Information.pdf

44F 2008 Fluorescent Bulbs Mercury Hazard 2008 Bakersfield News+CFLs.pdf

44F 2009 Energy Saving Light Bulbs Offer Dim Future August 29, 2009 Telegraph News.pdf

44F 2009 EPA Light Emitting Diodes LED Lights Health Effects Search May 2009.pdf

44F 2009 EPA Light Emitting Diodes LED Lights May 2009 Search.pdf

44F 2010 Potential Environmental Impacts of Light Emitting Diodes LEDs Study NOV 3, 2010.pdf

44F 2011 LED Lights Contain Lead+Arsenic+ More Than a Dozen Other Potentially Hazardous Toxic Substances CAWatch News FEB 11, 2011 U.C. Study.pdf

44FZ 2008 Fluorescent Light Bulbs - Research Needed on this Article August 16, 2008.pdf

44G 2007 Fluorescent Lights GE MSDS Light Bulbs 2007.pdf

44G 2007 General Electric Broken Fluorescent Lamps Mercury 2007.pdf

44G 2007 General Electric Light Bulbs 2007.pdf

44G 2007 General Electric Recycling Light Bulbs Information 2007.pdf

44G 2010 How Innovation Killed the Lights+GE Outsourced to China Washington Post SEPT 8, 2010 Lack of Quality Control Fluorescents+Mercury.pdf

44G 2010 How Innovation Killed the Lights+Outsourced GE Jobs to China SEPT 8, 2010 The Washington Post.pdf

44H 2008 Fluorescent Light Bulbs 2008 Mercury Problems Not Solved-Health Problem for Children.pdf

44H 2009 Bright Lights at Night Making us More Depressed-New Study October 23, 2009.pdf

44H 2009 EPA Fluorescent Broken May Cause Nerve Damage + Other Illnesses September 2009.pdf

44H 2009 EPA News Release October 6, 2009 Protect Children from Mercury Hazards-Fluorescent Light Bulbs+More.pdf

44H 2010 EPA Mercury Health Effects - EPA Website March 21, 2010.pdf

44H 2010 Night Lights Could Cause Depression The Telegraph News November 18, 2010.pdf

44H 2011 Does Urbanized Sleeping Habits-Modern Night Light Increase Breast Cancer Risk Study.pdf

44H 2011 Energy Saving Light Bulbs Could Trigger Breast Cancer if Used Late at Night April 21, 2011 The Telegraph News.pdf

44H 2011 Energy Saving Light Bulbs Contain Cancer Causing Chemicals The Telegraph News April 20, 2011.pdf

44H 2011 Health Freedom Alliance What About CFL Bulbs and Your Health FEB 15, 2011.pdf

PRESS RELEASE - May 31, 2001  World Health Organization
- The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer1, associated with wireless phone use. Background Over the last few years, there has been mounting concern about the possibility of adverse health effects resulting from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by wireless communication devices. The number of mobile phone subscriptions is estimated at 5 billion globally..." Study

44H 2011 31 May IARC classifies radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans.pdf

44L 2007 EPA Legislative Mandates Fluorescent Light Bulbs = More Leg_REP_Mandates_07-2.pdf

44L 2007 Fluorescent California State Light Bulb Bill AB722-2007pdf.pdf

44L 2007 Fluorescent California State Lighting Bill AB 1109 Hazardous Waste 2007.pdf

44L 2011 U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Efficiency-Light Bulb Hearing Press Release March 10, 2011.pdf

44L 2011 U.S. Senate Hearing on March 10, 2011 Light Bulb Law Stokes Furious Debate-Incandescent vs Fluorescent.pdf

44M 2006 EPA Roadmap for Mercury Report.pdf

44M 2007 EPA Mercury Spill Hazards 2007.pdf

44M 2008 Fluorescent Light Bulbs August 28, 2008 Mercury Problems.pdf

44N 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs - Dark Side of CFLs April 15, 2009 What We Know.pdf

44N 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs Global News January 2009.pdf

44N 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs Global News July 29, 2009 Search Page 1.pdf

44N 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs Global News July 29, 2009 Search Page 2.pdf

44N 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs to OLED Lights - How Safe - Questions NYTimes September 7, 2009.pdf

44N 2009 Lightbulb Ban Puts Fairground Rides at Risk The Telegraph News August 27, 2009.pdf

44N 2011 Incandescent Light Bulb Fight in Congress March 11, 2011 NYTimes-Health Hazards Mercury in Fluorescents+Disposal Problems.pdf

44P 2011 EPA New York City Schools to Replace Light Fixtures With PCBs Over 10 Years NYTimes FEB 23, 2011 Health Problems Potential+Other State Schools With Problems.pdf

44P 2011 EPA Rejects New York City Timeline for Removing Light Bulbs With PCBs in Schools NYTimes March 11, 2011.pdf

44Q 2010 Let there be Dimmers on Our Glowing Planet Books on Science Review July 26, 2010 NYTimes.pdf

44S 2006 Fluorescent Light Bulb Study Havas 2006.pdf

44S 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs - Canada Professor Magda Havas September 1, 2009 Study.pdf

44T 2010 How Innovation Killed the Lights+Outsourced GE Jobs to China September 8, 2010The Washington Post.pdf

44TZ 2010 Fluorescent Light Bulbs-Replace With a Bulb Made Without Mercury Science Daily News February 15, 2010.pdf

44U 2008 Fluorescent Light Bulbs Emit UV Radiation 2008.pdf

44U 2008 Fluorescent Light Bulbs-UV Radiation Concerns October 9, 2008 BBC News.pdf

44U 2009 Fluorescent Light Bulbs - UV Radiation Global News July 23, 2009 Investigation.pdf

44X 2010 U.S. Department of Energy Lags in Saving Lighting Energy-Still Installing Obsolete Fluorescent Light Bulbs NYTimes July 7, 2010.pdf

44Z 2007 Fluorescent Light Bulbs April 16, 2007.pdf

44Z 2008 Fluorescent Light Bulb Hazards WND June 19, 2008.pdf

44Z 2008 Fluorescent Light Bulb Update September 23, 2008 WND.pdf

44Z 2010 Fluorescent Light Bulbs - Canada January 15, 2010.pdf