• Metallic mercury is poorly absorbed through the skin. If ingested orally or forced under the skin by broken glass (e.g., a thermometer breaking in the hand), it can lead to increased mercury levels in the blood or skin reactions. Although a brief period of contact is not harmful, some caution should be exercised in collecting it. A pair of disposable vinyl or nitrile gloves should be worn. The mercury can be swept by hand onto a sheet of writing paper and then poured into a glass jar or other container. Since mercury has a very high surface tension, it is easily handled. Any broken glass should be collected and placed in the container. When you are done, place the gloves into the container and secure the lid. Once all the mercury has been captured and safely stored, you should contact your municipal waste agency for instructions. Since metallic mercury is considered a hazardous product, it should be turned over to those operating the hazardous waste disposal program in your area.
  • I know it will be hard but you first take the broom clean it up. then you wipe up the glass and you scrub the floor up intill you are done go over it with a paper towel and your done!
  • I had alway thought, mercury was a heavy metal and can be absorbed in the skin very fast with bad news. Always use rubber gloves when handling mercury so not to posion ya system, I would then clean it up best as you can and throw it in the bin, within a plastic bag. I mean we are not talking about 2 pints of the stuff, most thermonitors would only hold a few mil.
  • This is not something for an amateur to be dealing with and the answer above that advises you to contact your local municipal waste management centre is absolutely correct. Mercury lodges in tiny gaps in wood and other surfaces and, if left, will give off Mercury vapour which is dangerous. While I was at school, we had a Mercury spillage; the clean up process required the collection of as much of the mercury as possible and then to cover the affected area with powdered sulphur. There is a chemical reaction that takes place between the two substances and the sulphur can then be swept up and disposed of. I know you have only broken a thermometer but some of them are actually quite big and your local municipal waste or environmental health unit will almost certainly be able to show you how to deal with it if the amount is considered dangerous.
  • It's been at least two days since you spilled so it might not be so easy. First it IS the vapors that are dangerous, and vacuuming just vaporizes it faster. It is a small amount, and all things considered, it might not really be enough to worry about if its gone into a carpet or into the cracks of another floor, unless it is somewhere infants or toddlers, pets, or pregnant women might get close to it. People walking on it might break it into smaller amounts and track it around. Trying to clean it up now, might break it up and spread it too. Smaller beads will vaporize easier than a larger puddle, one large puddle is 'safer' than a bunch of smaller beads. Here's a good site, specifically about spilled thermometers; Here's some of what it says; Equipment needed eye dropper- to pick up the mercury plastic container with lid- to hold the mercury tape; wide, duct, or masking –to help pick up mercury beads plastic bags with zipper seal – to store mercury-contaminated debris and equipment rubber gloves- to protect hands from mercury contact syringe without needle- to pick up mercury trash bags- for containing mercury waste playing cards or index cards- for collecting mercury beads bright light They say to put on the gloves, use the light to look real good, use a card to push the mercury together into bigger blobs and away from carpets and cracks. Push the blobs onto another card and slide it into a PLASTIC container, not glass, even double ziplocks are better than glass. Don't use a vacuum or broom which will break up and spread the droplets. Eye droppers and syringes can be used to pick up small drops. Tape, the stickier the better, can pick up droplets. Sprinkle powdered sulfur on the area, it turns brown on contact with, and binds with the mercury. The mixture is still liquid and pick it up just like the plain mercury. Don;t use the sulfur on carpets and other soft stuff. Keep checking with the light, a flash light is best, or a fluorescent, an incandescent light will heat up and vaporize the mercury.. Put all the stuff you used into plastic container. ( You can keep the light.) Call your local govt. and ask um what to do with it, some places will send somebody out to pick it up. Ventilate the area as much as you can. That's about all you can do, if it is in the carpets or you got rugrats check the site and go to the home site and see the extreme and sometimes expensive measures you can take. Don't get scared if sumbudy does show up to pick it up and is wearing a way scary looking decontamination suit, they never know what they are gonna run into. ( Besides some of those people just wanta look all cool and official.) I kinda agree that a thermometer's worth isn't really a lot and really nothing to get over concerned with, unless ya got those pregnant women rollin around on your floor or sumpin like that. The site says you can get the sulfur at a garden supply place, but I don't know what the smallest amount you can get there is. Back when I was a Mad Scientist as a kid, I could buy small jars at the Drug Store. They pro'lly still sell it, I dunno, not being a scientist or a kid any more. That lil bit of mercury just might be OK, when I was a Kid Scientist, we used to actually collect up mercury from old thermostats and switches and stuff. We had a nice big blob we used to play with, pokin at it with our fingers, rollin it around in our palms,, hittin it with a hammer and watchin it break up and rejoin. Mad Hatters got that way from breathing actual heated up mercury fumes and a lot of them. Doesn't seem to have bothered me any. 'Cept back before I ingested all that mercury, which increased my weight, I could fly. Mad? Mad? I'm not the one who is mad! I am the one who is insane!
  • How did we survive? I broke a mercury thermometer today and got online to see how to clean up the squirly little beads on my pergo type floor. After reading on one website that I needed to airout my house for two days and wear clothing I would throw away after cleanup I started to wonder what our parents would have done. So I called my mom. She told me to put on a pair of nitrile gloves and get some papertowls to sweep it all together and then something sticky to pick it up with. Thats it. So I called my sons dr to see just how risky the small amount of mercury on my floor was. He said the same thing my mom had with a cuation at the end to make sure of proper disposal and not to believe everything you read on the internet. I honestly cannot believe that there is anyone in this world over 30 years old. With as many precautions as we take now days..things the government and health officials insist are neccesary, how did we survive our childhood without them? We have traded in cars without seatbelts for a life of semi paranoia, obesity becuase of how dangerous playground equipment and even running is, and of course basic commmon sense. I want to go back in time and be born at least a generation before.
  • probably very carefully

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