Is a Cracked LCD TV Screen Hazardous?

By Kay Ireland

Your LCD TV probably represents a significant investment in your home entertainment, which is why a cracked screen can be such a tragedy. Whether the result of roughhousing or a wayward gaming remote, cracked LCD screens are irreparable, so you should get rid of it as soon as you can. While the cracked screen might not be a severe danger, emitted vapors could cause a potential problem. Use care and dispose of the cracked screen to make room for its replacement.

Spreading

Even a small crack in your LCD screen could pose a larger problem. Since you can't technically repair the crack, there's a chance that it will spread across your screen, leaking what looks like ink -- liquid crystals -- across the screen. Even a small crack in the screen can become a big problem as the crack continues to spread, which is why you should always take care in handling and playing around your LCD screen. What seems like a minor flaw could seriously affect your ability to view images on the screen.

Mercury Vapors

Your LCD screen uses mercury to generate visible light as part of the viewing process. Because of that, there's a chance that mercury vapors could escape when the screen becomes cracked. While the mercury levels are generally low, there is a risk of side effects such as allergic reactions, skin rashes and even birth defects. If your LCD screen is cracked, it's best to dispose of it quickly: some manufacturers have facilities where you can drop off cracked screens, so check with your TV manufacturer.

Leakage

While your LCD screen utilizes liquid crystals to create a picture, it's rare for the crystals to actually leak out of the screen. That's because while liquid crystals sound fluid, they aren't as liquid as the ink they resemble when damaged. Still, leakage could be a danger in very rare cases because the effects of skin in contact with liquid crystals has not been well studied and the side effects are largely unknown. If material begins to leak out of the crack, contact your set's manufacturer for instructions.

Proper Disposal

It's important that you dispose of your cracked LCD TV as carefully as possible. Discard an LCD screen much in the way you would a fluorescent light bulb. Limit the amount of contact you have with the actual material or vapors by wearing a mask and rubber gloves during the process. Place the screen in an airtight garbage bag and contact your TV's manufacturer to ask about proper disposal. A recycling facility or buy-back program is best to avoid adding mercury to landfills.