Exposure To Liquid Mercury

Filed under: Mercury - 07 Jun 2013  | Spread the word !

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Mercury is a natural occurring element. This element can be found in rocks, soil, water, but also in air and in living things. Mercury is a unique metal in the world, as it is liquid at room temperature. Mercury is odorless, but also colorless, at least in its pure form.

Despite what you may imagine, mercury is an extremely dangerous metal for your health. This means that this is a hazardous chemical. Mercury exposure can actually lead to serious damage of the central nervous system, as well as the kidneys and liver. Exposure to mercury can lead to both long term and short term health complications. Some serious health problems can be experienced by individuals who are exposed to mercury.


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Exposure to mercury can cause:

  • Diarrhea;
  • Respiratory diseases;
  • Skin rashes;
  • Muscle tremors;
  • Personality changes.

The nerve damage caused by mercury exposure can actually cause paralysis, difficulty in walking, slurred speech and in the most serious cases it can even lead to the death of the patient. Naturally, symptoms, as well as the health complication developed, are going to vary depending on the level of exposure. To how much mercury and how long is a person exposed are crucial factors in determining the level of poisoning.


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The most sensitive category of individuals, when it comes to exposure to this metal, are children and pregnant women. They should avoid all type of exposure to mercury. This means that they should eliminate all mercury sources from their houses, including mercury thermometers and barometers. In case mercury is spilled, it should be cleaned immediately, with increased care of not entering into contact with the metal or breathing its vapors.

The highest risk of developing mercury poisoning is through inhalation. Breathing mercury vapors is simple when a split occurs. Breathing the metal is something that will occur extremely quick and which is highly toxic. In fact, even a small amount of mercury in air can cause serious health problems. This is why, you need to be as careful as possible when handing objects that contain the metal.

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Frequently Asked Questions On Liquid Mercury

Filed under: Mercury - 29 Apr 2013  | Spread the word !

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Liquid mercury is a highly used and well known element. There are many curious facts that you should know about this metal, as it commonly is found in numerous objects people own in their homes. Below you can find a list of the most frequently asked questions on liquid mercury. By learning their answers you will find out everything worth to be known about this transition metal.


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What is mercury?

Mercury is a transition metal, found in the same column of the periodic table as metals such as zinc and cadmium. Mercury is liquid at standard conditions of temperature and pressure. Mercury has the atomic number of 80. It features a relatively massive nucleus. The melting point of mercury is -37.966 degrees Fahrenheit. Mercury is a solid, crystalline metal below this point.

Where is mercury found in nature?

Mercury is a metal that can be found all around the world. Still, currently China and Kyrgyzstan are the worldwide leaders in mercury production. Mercury has been used since ancient times. It is commonly found in cinnabar, corderoite and livingstonite. Even though mercury found in inert form is harmless, it is important to know that soluble mercury is highly toxic.

What are the uses of mercury?

Mercury is widely used in industry and medicine. High levels of mercury are found in some fish, as well. Mercury is also found as an ingredient in certain mascara products. The use of mercury in cosmetics industry is quite common, despite the fact that its poisoning potential is widely known.

Where can mercury be found in your home?

As already mentioned, mercury has numerous uses. There are a wide range of objects in your home that contain mercury, too. They include button batteries, household switches, paints, household lamps, old toys, pesticides, antiseptics, dental amalgams, blood pressure gauges, as well as barometers and thermometers.

How does mercury exposure affect people?

Mercury exposure, as well as ingestion and skin contact are extremely dangerous. Mercury can easily travel, drain in water and settle in soil. In can pass toxins to food and lead to poisoning. Patients diagnosed with mercury poisoning should know that this is an extremely serious condition. In the most severe situations, it can actually lead to the death of the patient.

What are the symptoms of mercury poisoning?

As mercury can be found in some fish, cases of poisoning can be easily diagnosed. There are numerous symptoms that patients are going to experience due to mercury poisoning. The most important ones include tremors, impaired cognitive skills, as well as teeth damage. Exposure to mercury can cause immune system dysfunction, irritability, but in the most severe cases it can also lead to speech and hearing problems, as well as to respiratory issues.

How to avoid mercury poisoning?

In most cases, mercury poisoning is treatable and it can be completely cured. However, to avoid the situation of being diagnosed with such a condition, the best idea you can have is to stay away of mercury sources. Now you know which are the objects in which mercury can be found in your home. In case you work in an environment in which mercury is needed, you should have yourself tested regularly, to avoid health complications.


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Even though nowadays many of the uses of mercury that could put in danger people’s health have been replaced, you should know that accidental mercury poisoning can still occur. The most important thing you should keep in mind is that mercury is highly toxic, so when ingested or inhaled it can cause some serious health problems. Still, the great uses of mercury should not be ignored, either.

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Main Uses Of Mercury

Filed under: Safe Usage Of Liquid Mercury - 20 Mar 2013  | Spread the word !

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Mercury is a silver-colored metal which actually is liquid at room temperature. There are numerous useful properties of mercury, but one of the most important ones is that in certain cases mercury can remain liquid at any temperature, being able to conduct electricity. Still, people who handle mercury should be extremely careful, as this substance can be extremely dangerous, causing damage to the nervous system if inhaled.

Below you can find a list of the main uses of this metal. They are all extremely important, as in the lack of mercury maybe these devices wouldn’t be so simply accessible to all of us.

1. Thermometers

Thermometers are glass tubes filled with mercury. Mercury is absolutely a must in these devices for them to be able to register temperature. To determine body temperature, the thermometer has to be placed under the tongue. Mercury is well known to react to the changes in temperature by expanding or contracting.


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2. Barometers

Barometers are known to be able to measure the pressure of the atmosphere. Barometers can be used to predict changes of the weather, being quite similar to thermometers when it comes the way they function. So, barometers are tubes filled with mercury, which in this case react to air pressure. Due to the changes in air pressure, mercury rises or falls.


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3. Dental amalgams

Dental amalgams are commonly used by dentists to fill cavities. However, the use of mercury for dental related purposes is currently regulated by the FDA.


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4. Lamps

Fluorescent lamps, mercury vapor lamps and sodium lamps use mercury, as well. They can be used anywhere around the house. These lamps are considered to be extremely efficient, this is why they are really popular nowadays.


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As you can imagine, these are just few of the main uses of mercury. For instance, mercury may also be used in the manufacturing process of various equipments. Other mercury uses include usage as a catalyst, in ritual practices, in most ammunition, as well as in electric switchers and at medical schools.

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What You Should Know About Mercury

Filed under: Mercury - 17 Feb 2013  | Spread the word !

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Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at normal pressure and temperatures. It’s a silvery-white and poisonous metallic element. Mercury is liquid at room temperature and used in thermometers, barometers, flourescent lighting and batteries in the preparation of chemical pesticides.


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It’s also called quicksilver or liquid silver, but the chemical symbol for Mercury is Hg. Mercury was named after the Roman god. Mercury is malleable, ductile and is conduct heat.


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Mercury is naturally occuring element found in air, water and soil. It exists in a number of differemnt forms:

  • metallic mercury
  • elemental mercury
  • inorganic mercury compounds
  • organic mercury compounds

When it’s dropped, elemental mercury breaks into small droplets. At room temperature, elemntal mercury can evaporate and become invisible and odorless toxic vapor. Exposure and toxicity with mercury can happen when some objects containing mercury can break and expose mercury to the air.


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Mercury compounds can be found in antiseptics, disinfectants, fungicides, make up and traditional medicines. In the nature, mercury is a naturally occuring element. Unfortunately, human activities have led to increased amounts of mercury in atmosphere, streams and lakes.

A person’s health will be harmed depending on the form of mercury: if it’s elemental, inorganic compounds, organic compounds, the amount of mercury, tehnature of exposure, the length of exposure.


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Methylmercury is a compound that removes from the body naturally, but this can be a slow process. Nonetheless, the effects of mercury cannot happen at all, depending on the things mentioned above. If posiosning happens while women are pregnant, they can give birth with severe disabilities. Mercury can also be found in fish, but at the same time, maintaining a healthy diet is containing fish is also important.

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Find Out Where Is Mercury In Your Home

Filed under: Safe Usage Of Liquid Mercury - 04 Feb 2013  | Spread the word !

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Mercury is a liquid metal naturally found in soils and rocks, but exposure to it for too long, affects your nervous system, kidneys, causing anxiety, depression, tremors, poor coordination and memory problems. Methylmercury is formed when bacteria in water affect mercury, converting it.


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Unfortunately, mercury can be found also in your home, which is very dangerous, mainly if you have kids. The places in your home to look for mercury are the following:

As mercury is solid below -38ºC (above -38ºC it melts into a liquid) and boils into a gas when the temperature rises above 356ºC, it means that in your home it would be found in a liquid state.

The next thing you have to do is to inspect products in your home that have or are likely to have mercury inside. The most common objects that contain mercury are the following:

  • thermostats that control heating
  • air conditioning equipment
  • a few float switches like those used to turn off and on automatically

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    Additionally, you have to know that even some batteries, outdoor and indoor paint might contain this toxic metal, even inks, grandfather clocks, aircraft calibration tools and even old medical equipment.

    Methylmercury found in fish is one of the most toxic of mercury and can harm your body very much. If you disocver that in your home are objects containing mercury, replace them with some that don’t. Your decision to replace them depends on the age of your objects and their condition.
    with incandescent or LED types. Dental fillings must also be removed and replaced with a free-mercury material.


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    Moreover, avoid breakage of the above mentioned objects because mercury that escapes is difficult to retrieve. If this happens, ventilate the area fast and as much as you can, turn off all sources of heat in the area, remove your jewelry, put some gloves and start retrieving the mercury droplets using an eye dropper or a stiff piece of paper.

    Keep in mind to NEVER use a vacuum cleaner or broom to clean up the mercury spill!!!

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Things To Know About Mercury

Filed under: Mercury - 13 Nov 2012  | Spread the word !

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The element mercury is commonly defined as a silvery-white poisonous metallic element, which becomes liquid at room temperature. Mercury has a wide range of uses. For instance, it can be used in thermometers, barometers, vapor lamps, as well as in the preparation of chemical pesticide. Below you can find a list of other really interesting things about mercury.


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  • Mercury was named after the Roman god Mercury.
  • The symbol of this element is Hg, which actually comes from hydrargyrum, meaning water and silver.
  • Mercury is commonly considered a Transition Metal, being ductile, malleable and also able to conduct electricity and heat.
  • This element has a long history, actually being known since the time of Ancient Egypt.
  • More than 50 percent of all mercury resources come from Spain and Italy.
  • The element is commonly used in thermometers, barometers, as well as fluorescent lamps.
  • Mercury is poisonous, so its use has to be controlled. This means that the metal can only be used in some mediums and in particular conditions.
  • Mercury is a chemical element, having the atomic number 80.
  • The most interesting aspect about mercury is that even though this is a heavy metal, it can only exist in liquid form at room temperature.
  • It is a rare element, found in the crust of the Earth.
  • Mercury occurs as cinnabar or mercuric sulfide, even though in some cases it can also occur as livingstonite, corderoite and other minerals.
  • Mercury has been used for long time and the truth is that no scientist can be credited for discovering this metal. Mercury was familiar to civilizations living in China and India, too.
  • Mercury has traditionally been used in extracting silver and gold. However, nowadays this use has declined in popularity.
  • Atmospheric mercury is formed by volcanoes, when they erupt.
  • Human activities such as gold production, caustic soda production and disposal of waters may also produce atmospheric mercury.
  • Mercury is highly toxic, so when inhaled or ingested into the body it can cause health problems, even leading to death.
  • Liquid mercury has also been discovered thousands of years ago. The metal was found to be poisonous since ancient times.


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Romans first discovered that liquid mercury, and actually mercury in general is poisonous. They found that the exposure to this metal can lead to death when Romans observed the effects mercury had on mine workers. Nowadays, mercury is well known to cause damage to the nerves and kidneys, also being able to lead to blindness. Mercury can be extremely beneficial and useful in many processes, it just has to be handled properly.

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The Dangers Of Liquid Mercury

Filed under: Learn More - 25 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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Liquid mercury poisoning is a serious disease caused by the exposure to mercury and its compounds. There are numerous toxic effects to mercury exposure. They include damage to the brain, kidney and lungs. Several diseases can be developed due to mercury poisoning, such as acordynia, Hunter-Russell syndrome and Minamata disease.


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Symptoms may vary from one case to another, but they are most likely going to include sensory impairment, lack of coordination, as well as disturbed sensation.

Other symptoms of mercury poisoning include:

  • Impairment of peripheral vision;
  • Disturbance in sensations;
  • Lack of coordination of movements;
  • Impairment of speech, hearing and walking;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Skin rashes;
  • Mood swing;
  • Memory loss;
  • Mental disturbances.

People exposed to various levels of liquid mercury can experience a series of health problems. They can include central nervous system and birth defects, in some causes mercury poisoning actually leading to death.

The health effects of mercury exposure will depend on a series of factors, including the chemical form of the metal, the route of exposure and also the level of exposure. It is important to know that vapors from liquid elemental mercury and methyl mercury are much easier to absorb by the human body, so in this form the metal is believed to be the more dangerous, causing more harm.


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Mercury poisoning case

One of the most serious cases of mercury poisoning dates back to January 2004, when residents in northern Nevada were exposed to such vapors. Actually, dozens of middle school children in Gardnerville were exposed to the element. Symptoms started to be felt less than a week after the event. Severe poisoning cases from mercury exposure were soon registered.

A quarter cup of mercury was brought to this Gardnerville school by a student. It managed to contaminate classrooms, a school bus, children and their belongings. Not only that a series of people had to suffer from this situation, but the state had to spend over $100,000 on decontamination efforts. The entire school had to be closed and weeks were spent in the efforts of decontaminating the institution. Since children belongings have been affected, too, they had to be destroyed.

High levels of mercury vapors are extremely hard to eliminate. The vapors have almost killed the boy who brought the mercury to school. An important part of his family’s personal property also had to be destroyed, as contamination levels were too high. Even the family’s dog experienced severe symptoms of mercury poisoning.


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Dangers

Mercury can be used with many legitimate and safe purposes. However, people are not aware of the extreme danger that mercury can represent. Mercury spills, regardless of quantity and form, can cause a series of health problems. When liquid mercury is spilled, drops are formed. They can accumulate even in the tiniest spaces and then emit vapors. 

Health problems determined by mercury will mostly depend on how much mercury has entered the body, how it affected the body and how long the individual has been exposed to it. People can respond differently to this substance.

Even though cases of harmful effects due to mercury exposure are rare thanks to the efforts made to strictly control use, they still exist.

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Mercury Facts

Filed under: Mercury - 02 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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Mercury is an interesting substance, so you have to know more about it! Aside from the speculations made on the daily elements that contain it and its dangerous toxicity, facts of all kinds can be discovered about mercury. Here are some you may not have known:

1. Mercury evaporates slowly and unnoticed into the air, if it is left in opened containers.

2. Heavy items of all kinds can float on the surface of mercury.

3. Mercury cannot be combined with anything… aside from oxygen.

4. Mercury can be found in fish and shellfish species, which become toxic as a result.


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5. A volatile and explosive substance, called mercuric fulminate, can result from the combination of mercury with alcohol or nitric acid.

6. Mercury can be held in the hand, although it is liquid… but it can seep through your skin, if you do that unprotected.

7. Having reflexive properties, mercury is used in the production of mirrors.

8. Mercury can also be found in barometers, thermometers, batteries, fluorescent lamps and chemical pesticides.

These are some of the main facts that can be considered on the topic of mercury, aside from its general information. Curiosities about mercury continue to spread, as this is the kind of substance that has fascinated for many years, due to the fact that it is toxic, but also useful.

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See Experiments With Mercury

Filed under: Videos - 20 Sep 2012  | Spread the word !

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Mercury is a unique liquid metal also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum. Its symbol is Hg and its atomic number is 80. The freezing point of mercury is at -38.83 degrees Celsius and its boiling point is at 356.73 degrees Celsius. Mercury is usually found in the form of a cinnabar, which is highly toxic if it is ingested. The transition metal cannot be found freely, so if you are curious to see experiments involving liquid mercury, this site is your best source. You cannot have this metal at home because it can be used only under supervision, but you can see a few experiments with mercury where his properties are demonstrated.

Curiously, but lead floating in mercury:

See what happens when liquid mercury is mixed with nitric acid:

The mercury thiocyanate decomposition reaction, which is known as the pharaoh serpent reaction:

Even if these experiments are very spectacular and interesting, don’t even think on trying to imitate them at home. If you are curious to see something like these live, you will have to find a laboratory where such experiments are done for visitors.

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What You Need To Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish

Filed under: Uncategorized - 03 Sep 2012  | Spread the word !

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Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet, since they contain high quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fats, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and the proper growth and development of children. Women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits.


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Nevertheless, fish and shellfish may contain traces of mercury. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish ingested, and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish, and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

 


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If you follow these recommendations for young children, pregnant women and women of child-bearing age:

  • Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they might contain high levels of mercury.
  • Eat up to 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish and shellfish that are low in mercury are the following: shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock and catfish.
  • Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas.

It is always important to follow food safety guideline, and that is certainly true with the mercury content of fish. If you are fishing, get a copy of the state guidelines for fish consumption for the area in which you are angling. It is very important to realise that some areas are more heavily polluted by mercury and methylmercury than others. Using up to date food safety guidelines, you can largely avoid the harmful mercury content of fish.

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