Mercury Minimization / Mercury in Pipes, Traps, & Mercury Thermometers

Mercury is often found in the plumbing at dentistsí offices in the form of amalgam, a compound containing about 50% mercury, which is used in dental fillings. Other buildings such as schools, hospitals and laboratories should also be inspected for mercury in the drainpipes. Below are some tips for inspecting drainage pipes.

Mercury Thermometers

Description: Fever thermometers for home and medical use, laboratory thermometers, and industrial thermometers.

How to Identify: Most industrial thermometers contain mercury. The bulbs of thermometers containing mercury are usually silver in color. Types of mercury thermometers include:

Amount of Mercury: Typical fever thermometers contain about 0.5 grams of mercury each, while larger laboratory thermometers contain up to 3 grams of mercury. Industrial thermometers can be even larger.

Alternative Devices: Mercury-free alternatives are digital, aneroid, and alcohol thermometers, and for most applications they are as accurate as mercury thermometers. Digital thermometers tend to last longer, however, because they are less likely to break.

Safe Handling: Mercury thermometers are easily broken when not handled carefully. If a break occurs, use two pieces of paper or two razor blades to scoop it up from a smooth surface. An eyedropper can also be used. Mercury spill kits are available from safety equipment supply companies for larger mercury spills.

Safe Disposal: Homeowners can use local household hazardous waste collection programs for disposal, if available. For businesses:

Either:

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