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  1. Introduction Mercury

  2. Play Video The Magic Metal- Mercury and It’s Hidden Dangers

  3. Introduction • Developed for Western Wayne County Fire Department Mutual Aid Association • For • First Responders • Community

  4. Mercury Physical Properties Mercury Exposure and Health Effects Who to Notify if a Mercury Spill Occurs Mercury Spills: All Eyes on You Mercury Awareness Case Studies Introduction to Mercury

  5. Mercury in Your Home Mercury in Schools Mercury in Healthcare Industry Mercury for Religious and Medicinal Purposes Mercury in Agriculture, Commerce, and Industry Mercury Disposal Options Preventionand Reduction

  6. Initial Actions Small Spill Information Large Spill Information Resources and Responsibilities Funding and Grants Monitoring Instruments Air Sampling Method and Equipment OSPPERA Quick Reference Guide Spill Response

  7. GeneralReferenceInformation • Web Resources for Mercury Information • Multi-Media Mercury Information • Boilerplate SOG’s on Mercury • Mercury Q & A • Contractor list • Check list

  8. Play Video Mercury- Periodic Table

  9. What is mercury? • Naturally occurring metal • Shiny, silver-white • Odorless liquid at room temperature • Vapor is odorless and colorless • Insoluble in water • Mercury is also known as “Quicksilver” or “Liquid Silver”

  10. Types of mercury: • Elemental mercury • Inorganic mercury or mercury salt • Organic mercury (most commonly from methyl mercury)

  11. Physical Properties of Elemental Mercury: • Symbol: Hg • Atomic mass:200.59 • Boiling point:674.6 • Freezing point:-38.2 • Specific gravity: 13.5 • Vapor pressure:0.0012 mm Hg • Vapor density:6.93

  12. Mercury Exposure and Health Effects

  13. Common routes Inhalation Ingestion absorption Common exposure pathways Eating fish or shellfish vapors in air from spills, incinerators, and industries Absorption through the skin How can I be exposed to mercury?

  14. How can mercury affect my health? • Short-term exposure • Lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure • heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation Effects may be delayed.

  15. How can mercury affect my health? • Long-term exposure • Permanently damage the central nervous system, kidneys, and developing fetuses. • Symptoms may include irritability, tremors, weakness, cognitive disturbances, and memory problems

  16. Is there a medical test to determine mercury exposure? • Blood or urine samples are used to test for exposure to mercury • For more information, visit

  17. Who to Notify if a Mercury Spill Occurs • Quick notification • first step in cleaning up the mercury • Spill occurs • Business, Residence, environment • “reportable quantity” of 1 pound • (slightly over 2 tablespoons)

  18. Who to Notify if a Mercury Spill Occurs • National Response Center • National Response Center:(800) 424-8802 • EPA, USCG • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality • 24 hour Pollution Emergency Alert System (PEAS) (800) 292-4706 • Local health department • Fire department

  19. Mercury Awareness Case Studies

  20. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 1989 Lincoln Park, Michigan • first residential mercury emergency responses in U.S. EPA Region 5. • individual was smelting dental amalgams in his home to recover silver • released high levels of mercury vapors • four adult residents died

  21. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 1989 Lincoln Park, Michigan • Initial cleanup activities consisted of using charcoal filters to remove mercury vapors from the air. After 1 month, 70 pounds of mercury were removed from the air, and the decision was made to demolish the house. • total clean-up cost was more than $325,000.

  22. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 1993 Nova, Ohio • rental property • family recently moved into • discovered mercury spilled throughout the basement • mother was misinformed that mercury was not dangerous as long they didn’t touch it

  23. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 1993 Nova, Ohio • three children required chelation therapy. • 8 fluid ounces of mercury has spilled • All possessions in the house were disposed of • treated with a mercury vapor suppressant • sealed with epoxy paint and the basement floor was sealed with concrete.

  24. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 1993 Nova, Ohio • 6 months, the house was heated and vented to further reduce mercury vapor concentrations. • family still suffers from long-term health effects • total clean-up cost was more than $225,000

  25. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 1999 Centreville, Michigan • foster family made numerous trips to the hospital with 4- and 6-year-old children to diagnose unexplained symptoms • Physician recognized the symptoms as possible mercury poisoning and tested other family members • 6-year-old was placed in intensive care for over 1 month due to hypertension.

  26. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 1999 Centreville, Michigan • EPA discovered mercury contamination at the family’s residence. • Cleanup activities were conducted over 1 month and consisted of removing elemental mercury using a specialized vacuum, decontaminating and sealing affected areas of the basement, and heating and venting the house.

  27. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 1999 Centreville, Michigan • total clean-up cost was approximately $63,000

  28. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 2002, Private Residence, Ohio • thermometer was dropped and broke on a wooden floor, spreading mercury beads throughout the living room. • husband and wife 6 months pregnant • 2-year old • husband cleaned up the visible mercury • used his vacuum cleaner

  29. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 2002, Private Residence, Ohio • vapor levels in the home exceeded the safe limits • contractor recovered mercury beads from the joints of the wooden floor • Mercury vapor suppressant chemicals were used to clean the floor

  30. Mercury Awareness Case Studies • 2002, Private Residence, Ohio • family vacuum cleaner, an area rug, and the shoes were discarded. • total cleanup cost was less than $1,000

  31. Mercury in Your Home

  32. Mercury in Your Home • Thermostats • Dental amalgams • Light switches • Thermometers • Fluorescent lights • Batteries • Appliance switches • Toys

  33. Knowing which products contain mercury and handling them properly will limit the risk of mercury exposure.

  34. Lighting Products Containing Mercury • Fluorescent bulbs • environmentally friendly • energy-efficient • last longer • kitchen, workshop, garage, and other home lighting • Metal halide bulbs • Street lights, security, and floodlights

  35. Lighting Products Containing Mercury • High-pressure sodium bulbs • street, security, and floodlights • Neon bulbs used in novelty • lounge, and retail store lighting. • Automotive headlamps • characteristic blue tint when lit

  36. Lighting Products Containing Mercury • Dispose of mercury-containing bulbs • recycling site • Mercury-containing bulb recyclers are identified at the following website:

  37. Mercury in Medical Supply • Thermometers • silver liquid in thermometers • different-colored liquid (usually red) • contain alcohol, not mercury • Blood pressure cuffs • different-colored liquid (usually red) • contain alcohol, not mercury

  38. Mercury Thermometer • Rite-Aid • stop selling mercury thermometers • Michigan banded sales of mercury thermometers, thermostat, blood pressure devices and medical devices. • 1997 • For more information, visit,1607,7-135-3307_29693_4175-160230--,00.html

  39. Mercury Thermostat • Mercury-containing tilt switches • more than 40 years • Many older thermostats and some current ones use switches containing mercury. • Michigan band

  40. Appliance Switches • Gas-fired appliances • stoves, ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, furnaces, and space heaters • Switches • Clothing irons, top loading freezers, and washing machines may use switches containing mercury

  41. Toys Containing Mercury • Barometers • weather instrument • Old chemistry sets and mercury mazes • Children's’ chemistry sets were once sold with liquid mercury • the mercury maze, contains a drop of mercury that is moved through the maze

  42. Other Items with Mercury • Batteries • contain mercuric oxide • All shapes and sizes • commonly used in calculators, cameras, hearing aids, and watches • Lighted athletic shoes • Pre-1997 tennis shoes with light-up soles contain mercury

  43. Other Items with Mercury • Paint • latex paint made before 1990 • Microwave ovens • Bulbs-older ovens • Disinfectants • Pesticides • before 1990

  44. Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities • For more information, please visit •,1607,7-135-3585_4130-115394--,00.html •,1607,7-135-3307_29693_4175-11761--,00.html •,1607,7-135-3307_29693_4175-160230--,00.html

  45. Mercury in Schools

  46. Mercury in Schools • 1997 study • CDC • Children exposed to mercury • muscle tremors, irritability, personality changes, mental retardation, neurological damage, impairment of language, attention and memory loss, and even death. • Trouble learning

  47. Mercury in Schools • Cleanup in schools are expensive • $1,000- $130,000 to clean-up • easily and rapidly spreads through a school, creating an immediate health issue • Spills have occurred • Because of mercury in the school or from outside (someone brought into the school)

  48. Mercury in Schools • To reduce mercury in schools • Know where to find it • Science classrooms Nurse stations, Maintenance rooms (electrical and heating) Kitchens (thermometers) • What to look for • Containers of mercury Thermometers containing silver liquid (laboratory and medical) Barometers Sphygmomanometers (blood-pressure measuring device) Fluorescent lamps Mercury switches (light and float control) Older fungicides and pesticides

  49. Mercury in Schools • Reduce the presence of mercury • Teacher Awareness and Education • educate students, other teachers, and administrators about the health hazards of mercury • Promote proper management and recycling • Prevent mercury spills • Promote alternative products

  50. Mercury in Schools • What to do in case of a spill? • Leave the spill area, and keep others out. • Close inside doors and open outside windows • Turn down the heat, and turn off air conditioning or fans • Do NOT clean up the spill with a vacuum cleaner • Notify the appropriate authorities.