What is Mercury?
Mercury, also known as quicksilver, is an element that does not break down. It occurs naturally and is found in very small amounts in air, water, rocks, and soil. It becomes airborne when rocks break down, volcanoes erupt, and the soil decomposes. It then circulates and is redistributed throughout the environment.

Mercury: it's a Dual Threat.
While Mercury has been very useful, it is also one of the most dangerous. When carelessly handled or improperly disposed of, mercury gets into drinking water, lakes, rivers and streams and becomes a clear threat to human health and the environment. For more information on health issues related to Mercury, see the links on this page to EPA's web page.

Liability of mercury.
Not only is Mercury a threat to our quality of life when it is not properly recycled, it could also be a significant threat to the overall health of your business. Local and state environmental regulations combine with the strict EPA enforcement of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to regulate mercury and ensure that it is not mismanaged when disposed.

Products That Contain Mercury
Mercury metal has many uses. Because of its high density, it is used in barometers and manometers. With its high rate of thermal expansion that is fairly constant over a wide temperature range, mercury is found extensively in thermometers and thermostats. Mercury is important as an electrical contact for switches. Mercury conducts the charge in fluorescent lamps. Mercury-vapor lamps, which emit light rich in ultraviolet radiation, are used for street lighting, in water treatment plants as a disinfectant, and in tanning beds. Mercury is used as an electrode in the production of chlorine and sodium hydroxide and in certain electric batteries.

Mercury compounds have many uses. Calomel (mercurous chloride, Hg2Cl2) is a standard in electrochemical measurements and in medicine as a purgative. Mercuric chloride (corrosive sublimate, HgCl2) is an insecticide, a rat poison, and a disinfectant. Mercuric oxide is used in skin ointments. Mercuric sulfate is a catalyst in organic chemistry. Vermilion, a red pigment, is mercuric sulfide; another crystalline form of the sulfide (also used as a pigment) is black. Mercury fulminate, Hg(CNO)2, is a detonator. Mercury forms many organic compounds. Mercurochrome (in 2% aqueous solution) is used in medicine as a topical antiseptic.

Most mercury pesticides have been withdrawn from the U.S. market, and many countries banned ocean dumping of mercury and other pollutants in 1972. Production of mercury-containing interior and exterior paints in the United States was phased out in 1991. Mercury, which has been used in medicines for hundreds of years, continues to be used in various folk remedies that deliver exposures. The use of mercury in dental amalgam for tooth fillings has stirred escalating controversy in recent years. Most other medical uses have been banned or are being phased out, and state and federal agencies are encouraging industry to reduce the amount of mercury being used and exported.

 

 

 

Products that Contain Mercury
Earth 911 Web Site

Mercury Vaporizes at Room Temperature
50-second video clearly illustrates why mercury is such an insidious bio-toxin. With the help of ultraviolet lighting, liquid mercury is seen vaporizing at room temperature. This process occurs in any exposure of liquid mercury to the atmosphere. The normally invisible vapor is readily inhaled.

United States Environmental Protection Agency Sites
- Mercury Information Home Site
- Mercury Information for Consumers
- Mercury Information for Parents
- Mercury Information for Schools
- Mercury Information for Health Care Providers
- Mercury Information for Business & Industry
- Mercurio en Espanol
- EPA Region 5 Mercury Workgroup

 



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