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You didn't have a choice about going to florescent bulbs in the workplace. But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is going to be holding you responsible for their health and safety effects on your work sites anyway.
This summer, OSHA has been on a push to alert and educate employers and workers alike about the hazards of florescent light bulbs. At issue: These bulbs contain mercury - a highly toxic substance.
Workers can be exposed to mercury through skin contact, ingestion, and through breathing in mercury vapor. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include the following:
Here are some safety tips for you and your employees to protect you from mercury exposure from these bulbs:
Florescent bulbs, whether broken are not, should be treated as hazardous material for the purposes of disposal. This means that businesses are generally prohibited from throwing bulbs in the trash after they've worn out or broken. Specific requirements for businesses vary by state - but generally you will need to ship your bulbs out for recycling. You can find bulb recyclers and/or drop off sites in your area by doing a Google search using key words "bulb recycling" along with the name of your city.
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