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What should I do if I've already cleaned up a broken CFL, but did not follow EPA's recommended procedures? Follow

Don't panic, CFLs contain a very, very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing an average of 4 milligrams. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. If the CFL broke recently, review our clean up guidelines to see if there are any reasonable actions that you could take today. For example, if you vacuumed up the debris and you haven't yet changed and disposed of your vacuum bag, then do that. EPA's clean up guidelines are conservative, because they are based on the few scientific studies available to date. These studies are based on chronic (long-term) exposure to mercury vapors (exposure to mercury on a regular basis in your job). EPA plans to conduct a study to quantify the exposure levels from a broken CFL in the home and we will update our clean up guidelines as more information becomes available. If you are still concerned about your exposure, you can consult your family physician (or other qualified doctor), explain the situation, and request a urine test to see if you or your kids have elevated levels of mercury. The urine test is best test for exposures to elemental mercury and an indicator of levels in kidney, which is the primary storage tissue for inorganic mercury. Urine tests for mercury are relatively inexpensive.

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