“Do you want a light bulb with mercury in it for your oven or refrigerator?”
Based on what EPA recommends for clean up of broken flourescent bulbs I’d venture to say you’d have to throw out the refrigerator, food and all.
Actually, I wouldn't mind. Though CFLs work poorly or not in high or low temps.
I have personally broken at least two of the old fever thermometers in years long past. That's an exposure equivalent to about broken (that's as in "shattered", not "quit working") 200 CFLs. Over the past decade this household has gone from 100% incandescent to 90+% CFLs (only one incandescent that could be replaced by a CFL remains -- the rest are "decorative" lighting). In that time: 2 CFLs broken.
An interesting chart here (yah, it's from the gummint and the EnergyStar program and you need to click on the link to see it): Table 1
Light Bulb Watts Hours of Use kWh National Average Mercury from Mercury From Total Mercury
Mercury Emissions Electricity Use Landfilling (mg) Type Use (mg) (mg) (mg/kWh)
CFL 13 8,000 104 0.012 1.2 0.6 1.8
Incandescent 60 8,000 480 0.012 5.8 0 5.8
There's a whole lot of scare-mongering going on about mercury. It's not a good thing to dump wholesale into the environment, and we can thank the Japanese for our wholesale knowledge of this, but "zero-tolerance" makes about as much sense as banning GI-Joe-figurine guns or blunt butter-spreading knives from schools.
Look, I think we should be free to use what lamps we prefer given the usual caveats. This household likes the benefit CFLs bring to our power bill; we're not sensitive to the adverse effects others claim. (We also heat our house much less than most folks -- if you don't like 64F "occupied" you don't have to come on over -- but if you have special conditions, such as some of our elderly friends, sure, we'll crank the heat up to 70F or whatever we can deal with.)
Zero-tolerance, whichever way it goes, is a substitute for thought. And the one thing the totalitarian nanny-state cannot tolerate is people who think for themselves. (Go read "Atlas Shrugged", if you haven't done so lately. And prepare to be horrified.)
You have your preference in lighting and I acknowledge that. I have my own, with good reasons for it. We should retain this choice.
But CONgress is against that.