Although by the next year in accordance with the requirements of the EU mercury thermometers will not be sold anymore, today they are still very popular in many households. According to consumers, they are not only cheaper than electronic but also more reliable. The trouble is that they often fall on the ground and crash , and the floor spread of mercury into the air bubbles emit toxic vapors that are harmful to our health.
Many consumers believe that crashed mercury thermometer isn’t a bad thing, but specialists argue otherwise and encourages to collect the mercury spills.
But is it really worth to worry that dropped and crashed mercury thermometer can harm?
Mercury is considered most poisonous heavy metal. Accumulated mercury in the body affects the nervous system and cause brain disorders. It is possible to be poisoned even from a domestic thermometer. Mercury vapor can not be felt, because it have neither color nor smell. Mercury vapor can enter into the human body via the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal, skin and mucous membranes, and then the mercury causes acute and chronic toxicity.
The first signs of poisoning are: weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting, salivation, metallic taste in the mouth, and sometimes abdominal pain and diarrhea haematochezia. If you notice symptoms of poisoning with mercury it is recommended to drink water with activated carbon and water with white of the egg and try to vommit everything. Person who is suspected being poisoned must be taken to the medical institution as soon as possible.
As for the mercury thermometer the most dangerous part isn’t the metal itself, but its emitted fumes. Mercury evaporates slowly, even at low temperatures. The higher the temperature the more it evaporates.
In reality short exposure to mercury fumes generally does not threaten the health. And one broken mercury thermometer really isn’t a big tragedy. You just need to try to properly collect spilled mercury and disinfect the premises.
If you accidentally crashed thermometer and the mercury spread on a table or floor, you can not clean with the cloth – you will spread mercury even more and thus increase the evaporation of surface. Collect mercury using bottle with water and sealed stopper rods, rubber bag, thick paper, adhesive tape or glued paper, the potassium permanganate solution. Push largest bubbles with rod on the paper and lock in a bottle. Use rubber sucker to collect smaller mercury balls, and the smallest droplets gather with adhesive tape or glued paper.
Spill collected mercury in a bottle with water and seal tightly. Surfaces on which mercury was located should be cleaned with potassium permanganate solution. Wash entire rooms and well-ventilate.
Also it’s very important not to dispose mercury thermometers in public vaste containers. It is therefore helpful to know how to proceed with thermometers until you are able to give them to the relevant authorities.