When a mercury thermometer breaks, liquid mercury may spill out and can separate into small beads and can roll some distance away. Though, this is considered tiny amount (usually up to 3.0g - less than one-eighth of an ounce) and unlikely to cause problems for your health, yet one should take all precautions to ward off any possible contamination. Careful cleaning up of spilled mercury is required. Here are few cleaning up tips:
• Open the doors and and eave them open for at least 15 minutes so that room is ventilated.
• Stay out of the room till the room is ventilated.
• Wear a rubber or plastic gloves clean up the mercury beads and broken glass.
• Best way to collect up the spilled mercury beads is to use an empty plastic bottle to suck them up. You can also use a thin piece of card to collect up the spilled mercury bead.
• Wipe the area with a damp cloth. Put collected mercury and the cloth in the same bag and seal it.
What NOT to do after a Mercury Spill
• Don't touch the mercury with your bare hands
• Never use a vacuum cleaner to collect spilled mercury
• Don't sweep the mercury up with a brush or broom
• Don't dispose the mercury down the sink or the drain
• Try not to create dust, but if there is any dust, avoid breathing it in
• In case mercury has been spilled over the cloth, dispose of them in a sealed bag. Do not wash them or put them in washing machine.
• If mercury gets down over the carpet then the cut the area and put it in a sealed bag.
The concerned authorities in most of the countries provide facilities (recycling centres) where you can dispose of hazardous waste like mercury or garden chemicals. Find one that is near you and dispose your bag there.
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