Energy-saving lamp breaks: ventilate quickly

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Ventilate intensively for at least 15 minutes after breaking an energy-saving lamp

In its last issue, ZDF magazine "Zoom" already reported on the health risks posed by energy-saving lamps. These contain highly toxic mercury. If such a lamp breaks, the room in which it happened should be immediately and thoroughly ventilated. This is pointed out by the Central Association for the Electrical Engineering and Electronics Industry in Frankfurt am Main. There are also some important things to consider when removing the lamp parts.

From September 1st, only energy-saving lamps can be sold in Germany under EU law. Because the lamps are still relatively new to handle, there are some important aspects to consider. If the lamps break, the room should be thoroughly ventilated for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Because the energy-saving lights contain toxic mercury and can cause lasting damage to health. If the rooms were well ventilated, health damage is unlikely, as the Federal Environment Agency found in a study.

The remaining fragments are best packed airtight in a plastic container and disposed of. However, the defective lamp must not be thrown in the normal household waste. Instead, the parts belong to a waste collection point or to recycling centers. In addition, many sales outlets accept old lamps.

According to the Federal Environment Agency, energy-saving lamps must not currently exceed the mercury value of 3.5 milligrams per lamp. From 2013 onwards, stricter guidelines will apply. Then only 2.5 milligrams are allowed. According to some research, inexpensive products from Asia mostly contain much higher levels of toxic mercury. (sb)

Read on:
Toxic vapors from energy saving lamps

Image: Viktor Mildenberger /

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