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.
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.
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.