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Mercuric compounds. Byung Joon Lim 5/14/2013. Dr. Karen Wetterhahn (1948-1997). A professor of chemistry at Dartmuth college Studied the toxicity of heavy metals A few drops of dimethylmercury on the protective latex gloves

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mercuric compounds

Mercuric compounds

ByungJoon Lim


dr karen wetterhahn 1948 1997
Dr. Karen Wetterhahn(1948-1997)
  • A professor of chemistry at Dartmuth college
  • Studied the toxicity of heavy metals
  • A few drops of dimethylmercuryon the protective latex gloves
  • After six months, she suddenly became ill and died due to mercury poisoning
  • Surprisingly, she was taking all required PPE known at that time.

  • Elemental mercury
    • Volatile and very toxic liquid
  • Inorganic mercury (Salts)
    • Toxic and corrosive
    • Mercury fulminate (HgONC)2: Detonator
    • Mercury (II) oxide: Strong oxidant
  • Organic mercury
    • Alkyl mercury: Extremely toxic and highly flammable
    • Aryl mercury: Various toxicity. Less toxic than alkyl ones

c.f. Merbromine (mercurochrome) – Used as antiseptic

  • ALL forms of mercury are very toxic!
  • Attack central nerve system
  • Tremors, impaired vision and hearing, and paralysis
  • Bioaccumulate in food chains
  • Poisoned by inhalation and direct absorption through SKIN
  • Similar to other toxic materials
  • All PPEs
    • Lab coats, safety goggles, and proper gloves
  • Always in fume hood
  • Contact to EHS when you handle very toxic alkylmercuric compounds
waste disposal
Waste disposal
  • Similar to other toxic materials
  • EVERYwaste should be stored in the fume hood until they can be removed from the lab.
  • All mixtures containing mercury in any formmust be disposed of as mercury contaminated waste and handled separately.
mercury spilling
Mercury spilling
  • Small spill
    • Collect droplets by hard papers or pipets
    • Use mercury spill kit: Amalgamate the mercury to avoid vapor emission
    • Or Call EHS
  • Larger spill (more than a thermometer)
    • Evacuate immediately and isolate the place
    • Call EHS
    • Lower the room temperature
alkylmercury spilling
Alkylmercury spilling
  • Evacuate immediately and isolate the place
  • Call EHS
  • De-energize all sources of ignition