Q:

Are CFL light bulbs dangerous?

A:

Quick Answer

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are safe for everyday use, but the tiny amount of mercury inside the fluorescent tube means these bulbs should be recycled instead of thrown out with household trash. In addition, a broken bulb could result in mercury contamination and requires careful cleanup.

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Full Answer

CFL bulbs use a device called a ballast to regulate current flow through the fixture. This electronic device is designed to fail at the end of its lifespan, burning out its own circuits. Early, poorly made ballasts occasionally did so spectacularly, scorching the plastic and, in a few cases, starting minor fires. Purchasing bulbs from reputable manufacturers reduces the risk of this type of accident.

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