Protecting Public Health and the Environment.
Common household sources of mercury emissions include broken or discarded compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and thermometers.
Never use an ordinary vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury. The vacuum cleaner will release mercury vapor into the air and increase exposure. The vacuum cleaner will also be contaminated and have to be thrown away.
Never use a broom to clean up mercury. It will break the mercury into smaller droplets and spread them.
Never pour mercury down a drain. It may cause plumbing problems and cause pollution of the septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
Never wash mercury-contaminated items in a washing machine. Mercury may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
Never walk around if your shoes might be contaminated with mercury. Contaminated clothing can also spread mercury around.
The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming. Keep the systems off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming. After vacuuming the area for the first time, remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of in the same manner as the clean-up material.
CFLs contain an average of 4 milligrams of mercury, about enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. Therefore, different precautions should be taken when cleaning up a spill from a thermometer or a larger source of mercury than from a CFL.
Pollution Prevention Projects CoordinatorBen JarvisDEQ State OfficeEnvironmental Management & Information Division1410 N. HiltonBoise, ID 83706(208) email@example.com
Mercury Releases and Spills
Mercury Pollution Prevention