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August 23, 2012
New resources available on mercury exposure in fluorescents

OSHA has published two documents to help protect workers from mercury exposure while crushing and recycling fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but the shift to energy-saving fluorescents, which contain mercury, requires more attention to the risk for those who handle them.

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An OSHA fact sheet, Protecting Workers from Mercury Exposure While Crushing and Recycling Fluorescent Bulbs, explains how workers may be exposed and the engineering controls and personal protective equipment they need. An OSHA Quick Card, Avoiding Mercury Exposure from Fluorescent Bulbs, alerts employers and workers to the hazards of mercury and explains how to properly clean up accidentally broken fluorescent bulbs to minimize exposure to mercury.

Depending on the duration and level of exposure, mercury can cause nervous system disorders, including tremors, kidney problems, and damage to unborn children.

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