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A broken compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb can be unsafe for human beings because it releases mercury vapour into the air for weeks, even months.
The amount of liquid mercury (Hg) that leaches from a broken CFL is lower than the level allowed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so they are not considered hazardous.
However, Yadong Li and Li Jin of Jackson State University report that the total amount of liquid mercury vapour released from a broken CFL over time can exceed the amount considered safe for human exposure, reports the journal Environmental Engineering Science.
The best method of disposal is to pack the broken CFL in an airtight sachet or box and hand over to the competent recycler of CFLs.
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