Liquid mercury is the only liquid metal at standard temperature and room conditions and many assume that it cannot be dangerous for their health. However, it can lead to severe poisoning which has both short and long term effects on people’s health. This is why it would be best for mercury to be kept contained. Handling mercury does not pose any risk if it is encapsulated and enclosed, so make sure that all the possible mercury sources in your homes are enclosed and do not have any leakages. If you break a container by accident and the mercury falls out, you should know some practical tips on how to handle it. You need to keep calm, since mercury will most likely break up into many small droplets and roll away into many areas.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that all people and pets are removed from the area. Pets and children are likely to be lured to the balls formed, so you do not want them to inhale the mercury, nor to distract you from cleaning up. You should also remove any jewelry and then put on a pair of gloves that will help you retrieve the mercury droplets without them coming in contact with your skin. Then, you should try to recover as much as possible by using a stiff piece of paper or an eye dropper in order to scoop up the droplets. You can also use a paper towel or wet wipe. The remaining droplets can be picked up with a sticky tape. After “collecting” them, it is important to place the droplets together with the cleaning items you have used in a sealable plastic bag.
You should then double bag it, label it so that no one touches it, and dispose it properly by calling local authorities to find out where toxic waste is being disposed in your area. Placing it in the usual garbage bag is not a good idea. It is very important to remember never to use a vacuum cleaner or broom to clean liquid mercury when it spills. Also, if the mercury containers breaks and the metal falls on the carpet, you should cut out the piece of carpet and dispose it in a double plastic bag, as well. It is better to get a new carpet than to jeopardize your health and the health of the ones living with you.