The following should NEVER be done after a mercury spill:
- Never use a vacuum to clean up mercury. The vacuum will put mercury into the air and increase exposure.
- 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 lodge in the plumbing and cause future problems during plumbing repairs. If discharged, it can cause pollution of the septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
- Never walk around if your shoes might be contaminated with mercury.
What you should do depends on how much mercury has been spilled or released:
- Cleaning Up a Broken CFL
CFLs and some other light bulbs contain very small amounts of mercury.
- What to Do if a Mercury Thermometer Breaks
Fever thermometers that contain mercury have more than 100 times the amount of mercury that is found in a single CFL.
- What to Do If You Spill More Mercury Than the Amount in a Thermometer
If you spill or release more than two tablespoons, you are required by law to call the National Response Center Hotline, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at call (800) 424-8802.
If you need information about storing mercury in your home, please see: