Mercury is not only an element of the periodic table and the metal used in medicine, mechanics, metallurgy and technology to create various devices, which is the thermometer. It is also a heavy metallic silver liquid, with a low melting point (-39 degrees) and evaporation (+18 degrees), which makes it extremely poisonous.
Crashing, the thermometer sets free from 2 to 4 grams of mercury, which upon impact instantly turns into a set of beautiful small balls easily penetrating furniture, carpet and unevenness of the flooring.
At room temperature, mercury evaporates, poisoning the air. A person who has breathed it, mercury accumulates in the body and may subsequently cause harm. Therefore, if the thermometer broke, mercury must be removed immediately.
So, how to remove mercury from a broken thermometer?
- Professional cleaning of an apartment or any other premises (demercurization) is carried out with the participation of a neutralizer – sulfur (try to find fertilizer "sulfur color" in hardware stores). So, collecting the mercury balls in a glass container, it is firmly closed, and the slots are filled with sulfur. It does not make mercury safe, but, reacting with the vapors, removes volatility.
- Before removing mercury and any manipulations with it, rubber gloves should be worn on the hands, and the nose and mouth should be covered with a mask or, in extreme cases, with a scarf.
- During the collection of mercury, it is advisable to wipe everyone out of the room and open windows to ventilate and prevent the concentration of vapor. It is important not to create drafts, as a light breeze can be enough for the mercury to continue its journey.
- Ordinary wipes soaked in vegetable oil will help to effectively collect mercury balls of a broken thermometer: liquid metal easily sticks to oily places.
- To collect mercury, you can use a syringe, a medical enema, and even a pipette, with which you need to gently draw in the balls without touching them.
- There is also such a method: chop a newspaper finely, soak it in water, and collect mercury from a broken thermometer in the formed gruel.
- To prevent large mercury balls from falling into small ones, you must first collect large droplets and then small ones, rolling them into a single ball, if possible.
- Small balls, rolled into the cracks or other uncomfortable places, can be collected by pulling them with a thick needle into a medical syringe.
- The collection of mercury can take a long time, so it is advisable to periodically go out into the fresh air.
- In order to remove mercury from a broken thermometer, you can make a solution of potassium permanganate (even a weak, 0.2% will do) and, wetting them with a cotton swab, walk on the surface with mercury that will stick to it. (Be careful, potassium permanganate is used as a stain and you can ruin the furniture or the floor!)
- Some mercury balls can be collected using tape or tape.
So, mercury is collected. All collected balls should be shaken in a glass container filled with water, which should then be tightly closed and put in a plastic bag. Footwear and objects exposed to mercury should also be folded in a bag. The package should be handed over to the representative of the sanitary and rescue service for effective disposal and handling of things.
The places on which mercury was based should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and soda, which can be prepared by diluting 400 grams of soap and 500 grams of soda in 10 liters of water. Effective disinfection can be performed with a solution of iodine or potassium permanganate.
After the mercury is removed and the room is disinfected, open the windows and leave the room ventilated for at least 4 hours.
What not to do when collecting mercury?
Removing mercury from a broken thermometer or other apparatus, it is necessary to know that in no case should you collect this dangerous substance with a vacuum cleaner, broom, hands and household items.
It is impossible to throw out the found mercury in the trash, on the street, in the dustbin and other places – you need to take it to the appropriate sanitary authority.
Ideally, after the mercury has been cleaned, the room will be checked for the presence of vapor using special instruments or indicator paper.
Remember that 2-4 grams of mercury from a thermometer will not kill you and are unlikely to affect your health unless you wind yourself up on it. As a rule, after 1-2 broken thermometers, the content of mercury vapor in the apartment does not exceed the norm, so there is nothing to worry about. But still it’s worth taking precautions
Do not panic, calmly clean everything and ventilate the room.
Residents of Moscow and the Moscow region, in the event of a hazardous metal spill, leave the room contaminated with mercury vapor and seek free advice from the Ecological Service for Mercury Disposal.
24-hour hotline: +7 (495) 968-10-86
Certified specialists with higher chemical education in the shortest possible time will arrive at the place of emergency. Detect and eliminate the negative effects. The work is carried out according to the testimony of an attorney gas analyzer analyzer, before the MPC norm is output in the air in accordance with SanPiN. The control metering of mercury vapor is free of charge.
Services are certified. REG.