Broken fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs DO contain mercury, a toxic metal. Follow the EPA’s guidelines for a safe clean up.
Next, put all the broken glass, white powder from the tube, and the paper towel you wiped the area with, in a ziplock bag or sealed container. Call (415) 330-1405 to schedule a FREE home pickup or bring it yourself to San Francisco’s permanent household hazardous waste collection facility (hours and directions). Sorry – broken fluorescents can’t be accepted at neighborhood drop-off sites, and should not go in the blue, green, or black bin.