The government has no plans to issue householders with specific guidelines on how to deal with mercury spillages from low-energy CFL bulbs.

Under the relevant EU regulation, which took effect from the beginning of this month, traditional incandescent lightbulbs can no longer be imported or manufactured here, in a move aimed at increasing the use of more energy-efficient CFL bulbs.

A recent Dáil question tabled by the Labour Party asked environment minister John Gormley if he plans to issue households with instruction on how to deal with the release of liquid mercury and mercury vapour from a hot CFL, as his UK counterpart had done.

Gormley said responsibility for implementing an EU directive covering the area lies with Tánaiste Mary Coughlan's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

A spokeswoman for Cough­lan's department said it has "no plans at present to issue guidelines on how to deal with broken CFLs. The draft… regulation requires manufacturers to explain on their websites how consum­ers should clean debris in case the CFL's tubes accidentally break, and to include on the packaging of each lamp the link to online explanations," she said.

"Such an explanation is already available on the website of the European Lamp Companies Federation. Consumers who would particularly worry about mercury can choose alternative technologies such as improved halogen lamps."