There has been a great deal of publicity and misinformation around the topic of mercury in CFLs. Yes, mercury is an essential ingredient for most energy efficient lamps. CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing - an average of 4 milligrams per light bulb, roughly equivalent in size to the point of a ball-point pen. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. By comparison, CFLs contain about 1/125th of the mercury that older thermometers contain.
Manufacturers today have brought that amount down even further to a 1 - 2 milligrams. For example, if a package states ROHS compliant, this indicates there is less than 100 ppm of mercury in the bulbs. Other manufacturers state on the packaging that they have as low as 1 milligram of mercury. Find more information on the ENERGY STAR® website
When your CFL burns out, recycle it. As energy efficient lighting becomes more popular, it is important that we dispose of the products safely and responsibly. Ameren Missouri has partnered with retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Find a participating retailer near you
If a CFL breaks, follow the guidance outlined on the ENERGY STAR website