CFL Bulb Safety

Purchase CFL light bulbs that have the listing label of a recognized testing laboratory.  Light bulbs labeled by a recognized testing lab will ensure that the bulb meets the latest product safety standards.

When a CFL Burns Out

When a CFL bulb burns out it may smoke and the plastic base may blacken. This is normal and is not a fire safety issue.

CFLs should never be discarded with household trash. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that consumers use local recycling options for CFLs. Contact your local government or visit to identify recycling options.


If a CFL Breaks

CFLs are made of glass and can break. Be careful when removing from packaging and installing or removing from a socket. If a CFL breaks:

  • OPEN a window to allow the room to air out for 5–10 minutes.
  • People and pets should LEAVE the room.
  • TURN OFF forced air heating and/or air conditioning.
  • COLLECT broken glass and visible powder using stiff cardboard, tape or a damp paper towel.
  • PLACE the debris in a glass jar or a plastic bag in a safe location outside until you can dispose of it.
  • CONTACT your local government to find out how to dispose of the debris.
  • CONTINUE airing out the room for several hours.

CFL bulbs contain a small trace of mercury within the glass. When broken, mercury will immediately dissipate into the air. Concentrations of mercury will likely approach zero in an hour or so.