From: DCHAS Membership Chair <membership**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] NSTA Safety Blog Mercury: The Shining Health Hazard
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2018 09:07:08 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: 24CBC1C3-34A9-4D1F-8412-26B6F81C789F**At_Symbol_Here**

This is the introduction from the most recent entry from the National Science Teachers Association's Safety Blog
Mercury: The Shining Health Hazard

At room temperature, elemental (metallic) mercury can evaporate to become an invisible, odorless toxic vapor. The warmer the air, the more quickly mercury vaporizes. Exposure to even a small amount can affect your health. Symptoms can surface within hours of exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to mercury can result in short-term symptoms (e.g., coughing, vomiting) and long-term symptoms (e.g., loss of appetite, memory loss).

The problem with mercury is that it keeps on recycling itself. It vaporizes, is absorbed by materials in the environment (e.g., carpet, cloth, wood, window fixings), and again vaporizes into the air. This means that mercury drops can continue to turn into vapors that are breathed in by students and teachers years after a spill. It keeps recycling unless there is an intervention.

To determine if there is mercury in the lab, either secure a mercury detection kit or have a commercial lab test the science lab for mercury. If the results come back positive, the school district will need to hire a mercury spill clean-up contractor. If there is a small spill from, say, a broken mercury thermometer, see ‰??How to handle a mercury spill‰?? below.

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