Mercury First Aid and Clean-up Sheet
posted Jan 1, 2008
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08-0012 Metallic Mercury 0.15oz.
(Used in kit part numbers 08-0009 and 08-0010)
What is Mercury?
Mercury is a naturally occurring metal which has several forms. Metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white, odorless liquid. When liquid mercury (also known as elemental or metallic mercury) is spilled, it forms droplets that can accumulate in the tiniest of spaces and then emit vapors into the air. Mercury vapor in the air is odorless, colorless, and very toxic. Most mercury exposures occur by breathing vapors, by direct skin contact or by eating food or drinking water contaminated with mercury. All mercury spills, regardless of quantity, should be treated seriously.
First Aid Measures for Metallic Mercury
People not involved with First Aid should leave the area. Assume that the clothes of anyone who handled the mercury are contaminated. Place clothes in a sealed plastic bag and disposed of in accordance with Federal, State and Local regulations.
|Inhalation:||Remove from exposure area to fresh air immediately. If breathing has stopped, give artificial respiration. Keep affected person warm and at rest. Get medical attention immediately.|
|Skin Contact:||Remove contaminated clothing and shoes immediately. Wash affected area with soap or mild detergent and large amounts of water until no evidence of chemical remains (approximately 15-20 minutes). Get medical attention immediately.|
|Eye Contact:||Wash eyes immediately with large amounts of water or normal saline, occasionally lifting upper and lower lids, until no evidence of chemical remains (approximately 15-20 minutes). Get medical attention immediately.|
|Ingestion:||Get medical attention immediately. Give white of egg in water. Later give milk. Then induce vomiting. If the patient is unconscious, do not induce vomiting. Get medical attention immediately.|
Spill Clean up
People not involved with the clean up should leave the area. Windows and doors in the area of the spill should be opened to ventilate the area.
|Never||use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury. The vacuum will put mercury into the air and increase exposure. The vacuum appliance will be contaminated and have to be thrown away.|
|Never||use a broom to clean up mercury. It will break the mercury into smaller droplets and spread them.|
|Never||pour mercury down a drain. It may lodge in the plumbing and cause future problems during plumbing repairs. If discharged, it can cause pollution of the septic tank or sewage treatment plant.|
|Never||wash mercury-contaminated items in a washing machine. Mercury may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.|
|Never||walk around if your shoes might be contaminated with mercury. Contaminated clothing can also spread mercury around.|
Items needed to clean up a small mercury spill
1) 4 to 5 ziplock-type bags
2) trash bags (2 to 6 mm thick)
3) rubber or latex gloves
4) paper towels
5) cardboard or squeegee
7) duct tape, or shaving cream & small paint brush
9) powdered sulfur (optional)
Procedures for a small Mercury spill clean up
1 - Put on rubber or latex gloves.
2 - If there are any broken pieces of glass or sharp objects, pick them up with care. Place all broken objects on a paper towel. Fold the paper towel and place in a zip lock bag. Secure the bag and label it as directed by your local health or fire department.
3 - Locate visible mercury beads. Use a squeegee or cardboard to gather mercury beads. Use slow sweeping motions to keep mercury from becoming uncontrollable. Take a flashlight, hold it at a low angle close to the floor in a darkened room and look for additional glistening beads of mercury that may be sticking to the surface or in small cracked areas of the surface. Note: Mercury can move surprising distances on hard-flat surfaces, so be sure to inspect the entire room when "searching."
4 - Use the eyedropper to collect or draw up the mercury beads. Slowly and carefully squeeze mercury onto a damp paper towel. Place the paper towel in a zip lock bag and secure. Make sure to label the bag as directed by your local health or fire department.
5 - After you remove larger beads, put shaving cream on top of small paint brush and gently "dot" the affected area to pick up smaller hard-to-see beads. Alternatively, use duct tape to collect smaller hard-to-see beads. Place the paint brush or duct tape in a zip lock bag and secure. Make sure to label the bag as directed by your local health or fire department.
6 - OPTIONAL STEP: It is OPTIONAL to use commercially available powdered sulfur to absorb the beads that are too small to see. The sulfur does two things: (1) it makes the mercury easier to see since there may be a color change from yellow to brown and (2) it binds the mercury so that it can be easily removed and suppresses the vapor of any missing mercury. Where to get commercialized sulfur? It may be supplied as mercury vapor absorbent in mercury spill kits, which can be purchased from laboratory, chemical supply and hazardous materials response supply manufacturers.
7 - Place all materials used with the cleanup, including gloves, in a trash bag. Place all mercury beads and objects into the trash bag. Secure trash bag and label it as directed by your local health or fire department.
8 - Contaminated carpeting should be removed and disposed of in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.
9 - Contact your local health department, municipal waste authority or your local fire department for proper disposal in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
Text from the www.epa.gov web site.