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Mercury and Schools. Introduction. Outline. By the end of this activity you will learn: What mercury is Why mercury is dangerous Where mercury is found How mercury gets into the environment What we can do to stay safe. Acknowledgement .

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Presentation Transcript
outline
Outline

By the end of this activity you will learn:

  • What mercury is
  • Why mercury is dangerous
  • Where mercury is found
  • How mercury gets into the environment
  • What we can do to stay safe
acknowledgement
Acknowledgement
  • This program has been made possible by a generous grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Pollutants (PBT) Program.
  • Region VI staff: Ruben R. Casso PBT/Toxics Coordinator Donna Cooper Project Manager
mercury is
Mercury is…………
  • A heavy metal
  • Naturally occurring, found in cinnabar
    • mined in Spain, Algeria, Kyrgyzstan & China
    • Found in coal, oil & natural gas
  • Highly toxic to humans & other living organisms
  • Endangers the environment
characteristics of mercury hg
Characteristics of Mercury (Hg)
  • Element - never breaks down
  • Liquid at room temperature
  • Expands and contracts uniformly with changes in temperature.
  • Conducts electricity
  • Mixes easily with other metals
characteristics of mercury
Characteristics of Mercury
  • Evaporates at room temperature
  • Travels long distance when volatilized
  • Is extremely dense
  • Kills bacteria and fungi
mercury at home school
Mercury at Home & School
  • Thermometers
  • Switches
  • Appliances
  • Batteries
  • Cars
  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Some Computers
mercury exposure
Mercury Exposure

Metallic Mercury vaporizes into the air at room temperature. The vapors present an immediate health risk to everyone spending a significant amount of time in a room where mercury has been sprinkled or spilled on the floor, or where open containers of mercury are present.

mercury exposure1
Mercury Exposure

Hat makers: One hundred years ago, their behavior was considered eccentric. They used felt (mixed with mercury) in the manufacturing of hats. Mercury absorbed into their bodies.

The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland

mercury exposure2
Mercury Exposure

Metallic mercury and its vapors are extremely difficult to remove . The vapors accumulate in walls and other articles in contaminated rooms. The contamination can remain for months or years.

mercury exposure3
Mercury Exposure

Mercury can accumulate in electronic equipment especially computers. When the computer is turned on, the mercury re-vaporizes. This cycle of metallic mercury has been seen in incidents in schools.

how does mercury get into the air
How Does Mercury Get Into the Air?
  • Mercury is found Fossil Fuels especially coal
  • 54% electricity in the US comes from burning coal
  • When coal is burned, Mercury is released into the air
water cycle
Water Cycle

Precipitation

Condensation

Infiltration

Evaporation

Groundwater

from mercury to methylmercury
From Mercury to Methylmercury

In water, (streams, lakes, rivers, oceans) Mercury is transformed to a very

TOXIC FORM

Mercury

Bacteria and Chemical Processes

Methylmercury

methylmercury
Methylmercury

= Methylmercury

fish advisories
Fish Advisories
  • Fish advisories tell people how much fish is safe to eat.
  • Mercury is especially dangerous to fetuses, and to all growing children. So it’s important to not eat too much of the larger fish (High on the food chain)
you can prevent mercury pollution
You Can Prevent Mercury Pollution
  • Educate yourself and others
  • Buy mercury-free alternatives
  • Keep mercury OUT of the garbage
  • Conserve electricity
in this section we discussed
In this section we discussed:
  • What mercury is
  • Why mercury is dangerous
  • Where mercury is found
  • How mercury gets into the environment
  • What we can do to stay safe
mercury in schools

Mercury in Schools

Where to Look

&

What to Look for

outline1
Outline

By the end of this activity you will learn to find Mercury in school related areas:

  • Science , Chemistry, Physics & Biology Classrooms
  • Nurses Office
  • Electrical And Heating Equipment
science chemistry physics biology classrooms
Science, Chemistry, Physics & Biology Classrooms

Check for:

metallic mercury, mercury compounds, thermometers, barometers or other devices that may contain mercury

Metallic mercury may have “settled” in sink traps.

science chemistry physics biology classrooms1
Science, Chemistry, Physics & Biology Classrooms

Why?

They were used in various experiments. They may still be in a cabinet or chemical closet.

science chemistry physics biology classrooms2
Science, Chemistry, Physics & Biology Classrooms

Alternatives:

  • Other chemicals can be used in class experiments to illustrate science or chemistry principles
  • Alcohol or electronic thermometers are readily available and accurate
science chemistry physics biology classrooms3
Science, Chemistry, Physics & Biology Classrooms

Possible Actions

  • Make sure any mercury, mercury compounds, or thermometers are in non-breakable containers
  • Items should be collected by school engineering and/or janitorial staff, held in secure area prior recycling them
science chemistry physics biology classrooms4
Science, Chemistry, Physics & Biology Classrooms

Possible Actions

  • If mercury devices will not be replaced, obtain spill kits for the science classrooms and storage rooms
  • Make certain that several staff members are trained in proper spill control procedures
  • Buy mercury free alternatives
nurse s office
Nurse’s Office

Check for

thermometers, blood pressure measuring devices (sphygmomanometer), nasal spray and contact lens solution.

Metallic mercury may have “settled” in sink traps

nurse s office1
Nurse’s Office

Why?

  • Mercury thermometers are used to check body temperature. Sphygmomanometers can contain several pounds of mercury.
  • Nasal spray and contact lens may contain thimersol (an ingredient that has mercury in it.), phenyl mercuric acetate or phenyl mercuric nitrate.
nurse s office2
Nurse’s Office

Alternatives:

  • Alcohol or electronic thermometers are readily available.
  • Aneroid blood pressure devices are available, shock resistant and effective.
  • Many brands of nasal spray and contact lens do not contain mercury.
nurse s office3
Nurse’s Office

Possible Actions

  • Make sure any mercury, mercury compounds or thermometers are in non-breakable containers.
  • Items should be collected by school engineering and/or janitorial staff and held in secure area prior to recycling them.
nurse s office4
Nurse’s Office

Possible Actions

  • If mercury products will not replaced, obtain a spill kit for the nurse’s office
  • Make sure that nurses are trained in proper spill control procedures
  • Use up existing stock of nasal spray or contact lens solutions then buy mercury free alternatives
electrical heating equipment
Electrical & Heating Equipment

Check for

thermostats, “silent” light switches and disposal/management of fluorescent light bulbs

electrical heating equipment1
Electrical & Heating Equipment

Why?

  • Thermostats are used to control the temperature in buildings.
  • Approximately 75% of thermostats in use today contain mercury.
  • Many “silent“ light switches contain mercury.
  • Fluorescent tubes in overhead lighting contain a minute amount of mercury but their total can be significant.
electrical heating equipment2
Electrical & Heating Equipment

Alternatives:

  • Electronic thermostats and non-mercury switches are widely available
  • Fluorescent bulbs should be recycled rather than thrown out
electrical heating equipment3
Electrical & Heating Equipment

Possible Actions

Place stickers (designed by students) on any mercury thermostats or silent switches that indicate:

  • This device contains mercury
  • When this device is disposed, the mercury should be recycled
  • When purchasing a replacement, a mercury free model should be chosen
electrical heating equipment4
Electrical & Heating Equipment

Possible Actions

  • Notify purchasing department and specify mercury free thermostats or light fixtures when replacing .
  • Many HVAC contractors will recycle mercury thermostats.

http://www.nema.org/index_nema.cfm/664#find

electrical heating equipment5
Electrical & Heating Equipment

Possible Actions

  • Your school should recycle fluorescent bulbs by replacing them in their original box in a safe, secure storage area until they are collected by a recycling contractor.
which lamps contain mercury
Which Lamps Contain Mercury?
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Mercury vapor lamps
  • Metal halide lamps
  • High pressure sodium lamps
  • Neon lamps
  • High intensity discharge lamps
in this section we discussed1
In this section we discussed:
  • Where to find Mercury in school related areas:
        • Science, Chemistry, Physics & Biology Classrooms
        • Nurse’s Office
        • Electrical And Heating Equipment
mercury

Mercury

At Home

outline2
Outline

By the end of this activity you will learn:

  • Types of Uses or Releases of Mercury From Households
  • % of Mercury in Households
  • How to Hunt for Mercury at Home
  • Opportunities to Use Mercury Free Electric Lamps
types of uses or releases from households
Fluorescent lamps

Appliance switches (chest freezers, washing machines)

Automotive switches

Thermostats

Button batteries

Light switches

Thermometers

Dental fillings

Types of Uses or Releases From Households
hunt for mercury at home
Hunt for Mercury at Home
  • Share information about mercury with your family
  • Family members may be able to help you identify products that contain mercury
  • You do not need to throw out all the mercury-containing products that you find
  • Use common sense, recycling, safety and pollution prevention before taking action
  • Buying smart is a great way to prevent pollution!
mercury reduced developments
Mercury-reduced Developments
  • Mercury-free fluorescent discharges are available using xenon
  • Efficiency is approximately 30% of a mercury based fluorescent lamp
  • The search continues
in this section we discussed2
In this section we discussed:
  • Types of Uses or Releases of Mercury From Households
  • % of Mercury in Households
  • How to Hunt for Mercury at Home
  • Opportunities to Use Mercury Reduced Electric Lamps
outline3
Outline

By the end of this activity you will learn to follow mercury spill procedures in case of :

  • Less than or equal to the amount in a thermometer
  • More than the amount in a thermometer
  • Greater than one pound (two tablespoons)
spills less than or equal to the amount in a thermometer
Spills: Less than or equal to the amount in a thermometer
  • Remove everyone from the area.
  • Remove all jewelry.
  • Sprinkle powdered sulfur over the spill.
  • Put on rubber or latex gloves.
  • Place all broken sharp objects on a paper towel.
  • By using squeegee or cardboard, sweep slowly to gather mercury beads.
  • Use an eyedropper to collect or draw up the mercury beads. Slowly and carefully squeeze mercury onto a damp paper towel.
  • Place the paper towel in a sturdy plastic bag and secure/seal.
spills less than or equal to the amount in a thermometer1
Spills: Less than or equal to the amount in a thermometer
  • Place all materials (including gloves) used with the cleanup in a trash bag, label and secure.
  • Contact your local health department or your local fire department.
  • Keep a window open for 24 hours after your successful cleanup.
  • Continue to keep pets and children out of cleanup area. If sickness occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Sprinkle sulfur powder on the spill area after cleaning up the mercury. A color change from yellow to brown indicates that mercury is still present.
spills more than the amount in a thermometer
Spills: More than the amount in a thermometer
  • Isolate the area
  • Turn down temperature
  • Open windows
  • Don\'t let anyone walk through the mercury
  • Don\'t vacuum
  • Contact a fire department or public health official.
spills greater than one pound two tablespoons
Spills: Greater than One Pound (Two Tablespoons)

Any time one pound or more of mercury is released to the environment, it is mandatory to call the National Response Center (NRC). The NRC hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Call 1-800-424-8801. Note that because mercury is heavy, only two tablespoons of mercury weigh about one pound.

small amount of mercury e g thermometer
Small amount of Mercury(e.g. Thermometer)
  • Use fans for a minimum of 1 hour
  • Call local health department to get disposal instructions
important telephone numbers and links
Important Telephone Numbers and Links
  • ATSDR General Information 1-888-422-8737
  • National Response Center 1-800-424-9346
  • Mercury Hotline 1-866-9-MERCURY
  • LDEQ 1-800-305-6621
  • Local Health Department
  • http://www.epa.gov/mercury/
in this section we discussed3
In this section we discussed:

Mercury spill procedures in case of :

  • Less than or equal to the amount in a thermometer
  • More than the amount in a thermometer
  • Greater than one pound (two tablespoons)
contacts
Contacts
websites
Websites
  • DEQ www.deq.louisiana.gov
  • EPA www.epa.gov/pbt
  • Sustainable Hospitals www.sustainablehospitals.org
  • Hospitals for a Healthy Environment http://www.h2e-online.org/
  • Health Care Without Harm http://www.noharm.org
  • Northeast Waste Management Officials\' Association http://www.newmoa.org/Newmoa/htdocs/about/AboutUs.cfm
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