How to dispose of Mercury safely?

Mercury is a naturally occurring element in the environment and is liquid in the normal room temperature. The special property of mercury, which makes it highly sought after in the industry is that it expands uniformly with the increase in temperature and that's why it is widely used in thermometer and barometers which are usually made up of glass. Since the glass items are very fragile, there is always the risk of these instruments getting damaged and the mercury in them being split which can be pretty dangerous.

Fluorescent bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs are another two items which contain mercury in them and are used in households and thus, can be the cause of the spilling of mercury in the home. The industry that uses mercury on a large scale has proper preventive and safety measures in case of a spill. It is about time the common people know how to handle such situations as well, so that such situations can be handled with ease.

We will now be telling some of the fundamental and basic steps that one can take in case of mercury spillage:

  1. Turn off the heater or air conditioner if any of them is operating in the room and open the windows to allow the room to air out for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Use a piece of paper or cardboard to collect the spilt mercury and the pieces of the container that broke and spilt the mercury and store in a jar with a tight lid or a plastic bag with a proper seal.

  3. Bring some sticky tape and use it to collect the smaller, finer pieces of the mercury and the broken container and put them along with the sticky tape in the jar or the plastic container.

  4. In order to make sure that all the debris are collected safely, one can also use a vacuum cleaner to make sure space is cleaned thoroughly and there is no trace of mercury anywhere.

In case someone is working with mercury in a laboratory or at home, there are some rules that they should keep in mind so that no mishap happens. Some of the methods to make sure that mercury spillage doesn't take place are: -

  1. Do not keep the mercury in such a place where it can come in contact with an extremely hot surface, allowing the mercury to vaporize and get into the atmosphere.

  2. Do not wear gold or silver jewelry while working with mercury.

  3. Try to avoid inhaling the mercury vapors and always use proper gloves while working with it.

  4. Do not keep access to mercury at home or in the lab. Always have a limited amount of mercury which can be exhausted easily and order only when you need it.

These are only some of the ways that can be kept in mind while working with mercury. There are proper handbooks that can be always consulted while working with mercury to make sure that you as well as your surroundings are safe at every point in time.