The material used in modern compact fluorescent lights is actually pure concentrated evil. Just one brief touch is enough to instantly destroy both your body and your soul. I cannot warn you strongly enough to avoid touching pure evil. The embedded video below should help to illustrate this danger, associated with touching the stuff inside your light bulbs.
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Wasn't that a re-heated kebab? L
I don't know anything about any "kebab". Although I have heard a few stories about the rumored toxicity of CFL bulbs. Erm... mostly I was just trying to think of a good hyperbole for the most toxic thing possibly imaginable, and that naturally made me think of pure concentrated evil, a kind of phlebotinum, featured in that movie "Time Bandits".
I think your choice of clip was excellent. I liked Robin Hood distributing to the poor... L
People will tell you mercury is really toxic, but it's not a big risk. Elemental mercury is much less harmful than compounds of, and what's in one tube will disperse. It's only a big problem if you're opening a lot of these. The phosphor powder (depending upon what it is) is likely to contain toxic heavy-metals - given a choice I'd much rather breath the mercury vapour than swallow the phosphor. L
. Small doses at infrequent intervals are not usually a problem for most adults ... but: . The big problem with Hg (and most other heavy metals) is that they accumulate (are slowly excreted) in animals - including ourselves and animals in our food supply (eg, fish). A lot of the heavy metal compounds are quite stable and stick around "forever."
I don't disagree (lay off the tuna...), I just confined my thinking to one broken tube. L
It's so toxic you can die just from reading about it.
The mercury is more toxic. The EPA has a good web page on how to safely eal with broken fluorescents.
Mercury isn't actually THAT toxic, like Lemonie says. Here is a VERY informative link on the uses and toxicity of mercury.
It might be useful to clarify. If it's a flourescent bulb it's probably cadmium powder (Among other things) which can be unpleasant and should be handled carefully. As mentioned it's not the most dangerous thing in the bulb, that would be mercury which can be very bad indeed. If you're talking about an incandescent bulb (one with a filament in it) the coating is probably silica which isn't too dangerous. I wouldn't eat it or breathe it though.