Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 13:54:53 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Ben Ruekberg <bruekberg**At_Symbol_Here**CHM.URI.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3 re: Hg response
In-Reply-To: <4EE017FA-C0C7-4D21-9A23-87B70613D392**At_Symbol_Here**>

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Thank you for the EHP reference.=A0 I noticed that in addition to discussing large spills, it had a couple of paragraphs concerning small metallic mercury spills (p. 149).=A0 In this section, thermometer-sized spills did not seem to result in very high mercury concentrations in the air.

Let’s face it.=A0 Mercury is not to be ignored.=A0 There is no question that it is hazardous.=A0 Nonetheless, it does not seem (to me) that small amounts, barring unusual circumstances, are cause for panic.

Thank you,


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Secretary ACS DCHAS
Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 12:15 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 3 re: Hg response

From: "Allan Astrup Jensen" <aaj**At_Symbol_Here**>

Date: May 11, 2010 11:35:28 AM EDT

Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] 3 re: Hg response

It is well-known that the uptake of metallic mercury orally is low (<0.01%) and normally without toxic effects.


Methyl mercury is mainly a vehicle for Hg2+ crossing the membranes reaching into, for instance, the brain. Hg2+ cannot pass. In the brain both Hg0 and MeHg will transform to the toxic Hg2+ which reacts with sensitive –SH groups in proteins. A good reference is: Ishitobi et al. Organic and inorganic mercury in neonatal rat brain after prenatal exposure to methylmercury and mercury vapour. EHP 2010;118: 242-248.


There are many publications reporting high indoor concentrations after mercury spills and what to do to clean-up; for instance TA Baughman: Elemental mercury spills. EHP 2006; 114: 147-152; you could also look in


I am co-author of a report to the Danish EPA to be finished soon, and an information campaign is planned in Denmark to tell the public what to do when light bulb breaks.


Yours truly,

Allan Astrup Jensen 

Technical Vice President 

Secretariat for Metrology, Chemical analysis and Management Systems 

FORCE Technology, Br=F8ndby 

Park All=E9 345 

2605 Br=F8ndby 


Phone: +45 43 26 70 00 

Direct: +45 43 26 70 81 

Mobile: +45 40 94 10 22 

Fax: +45 43 26 70 11 

e-mail: aaj**At_Symbol_Here**


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