• What You Need to Know About Mercury Spill Safety
  • Lisa

    Lisa Baxter is a Technical Services Specialist and the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) coordinator at New Pig. For more than 22 years, Lisa has helped customers find solutions for their leak and spill issues and figure out how to meet reg requirements. She has a bachelor's degree in environmental science.

  • Cj hanlysays:
    09/22/2015 at 11:39 pm Reply

    Im reading all this and im wondering something…as a child (from 5 to about 7)i use to play with mercury.we had an old pill bottle that hed about a table spoon of mercury in it.not sure why. But my mother would let me play with it at the kitchen table.i remeber loving how it would bead when i pressed my finger in the center and then become one blob again when i would rounded up the beads.im curious why my brother,sister and myself were not effected in any way.

    • Brittanysays:
      09/24/2015 at 3:09 pm Reply

      Hi Cj,
      Thank you for reaching out. Each person is different on what can or will happen when they have encountered mercury.
      Once in the human body, mercury acts as a neurotoxin, interfering with the brain and nervous system. Even in low doses, mercury may affect a child’s development, delaying walking and talking, shortening attention span and causing learning disabilities.
      In adults, mercury poisoning can adversely affect fertility and blood pressure regulation and can cause memory loss, tremors, vision loss and numbness of the fingers and toes. Mercury and its compounds can also affect the central nervous system, kidneys and liver, and can disturb immune processes, cause tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia and emotional instability.
      A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to mercury may also lead to heart disease. How it will affect each individual is uncertain, and may not even be noticeable as an effect of mercury as other diseases may have the similar symptoms.
      We offer spill response supplies (e.g. spill kits and absorbents) to clean up mercury in an industrial setting. A doctor or specialist could probably address your health concerns better.
      Brittany & New Pig Tech Team

  • Jeffrey Zienteksays:
    01/14/2017 at 4:54 pm Reply

    Not to down play Mercury, but the vapor pressure (how quickly it will turn to vapor and evaporate) is so low it generally only cause problems when heated. Hat makers, back in the old days, use mercury to form the felt on hats but it was heated and they did this day-in and day-out, eventually experiencing major neurological symptoms (thus the phrase the “mad hatters”. When we use our mercury VAPOR analyzer to check for contamination, we have the people rub their hands to produce heat which in turn produces vapor, and that is how we can check for contamination.
    Again, I would never downplay mercury, it is a hazardous material and we treat it as such, but in terms of some other products out there……ehh?
    Jeff Zientek
    Author – Hazmat Response

    • Karensays:
      01/16/2017 at 1:09 pm Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your comment! I don’t think any trained responder would ever downplay the hazards of mercury, and I also agree that many would rather deal with a mercury spill than, say, a chlorine gas leak or a highly explosive atmosphere in a confined space. It’s just that when you are faced with cleaning up a mercury spill, it is important to make sure that steps are taken to ensure that all of the mercury has been recovered so that it does not continue to present a health hazard.


  • kibrisdoktorsays:
    04/17/2019 at 8:09 pm Reply

    If a mercury-containing thermometer is broken, do not clean up the spilled mercury with a vacuum cleaner.

    • Isabella Andersensays:
      07/02/2019 at 11:54 am Reply

      Hi there, thanks for commenting! As we mentioned in this article, mercy should never be vacuumed with a regular vacuum cleaner. When mercury is vacuumed in a standard vacuum cleaner, it will aerosolize and make the problem worse. HEPA filters will not prevent this. Specialized mercury vacuums are commercially available, but they are very expensive and will be specifically labeled for cleaning up spilled mercury.

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