What You Need to Know About Mercury in the Workplace
Most people know mercury as the liquid metal used in thermometers. But did you know that mercury can also be found in many common workplace products? Keep reading to learn more about mercury, how it affects your health, and how to dispose of it safely.
What is Mercury?Mercury is a naturally occurring chemical element found in the earth’s crust. It’s released into the atmosphere by natural occurrences like volcanic eruptions and also through human activities like burning coal, burning products that contain mercury, the production of cement and during the process of waste elimination. Even in small amounts, mercury is a potent and dangerous toxin.
Common Items Containing MercuryAlthough more and more industries are moving towards mercury-free alternatives, there are still a number of products used in the workplace that contain mercury. For example:
- Button batteries
- Dental fillings
- Electrical switches
- Fluorescent and neon lights
- HVAC equipment
- Medical products
- Paints manufactured before 1992
- Pressure gauges
- Thermostat probes
Use extreme caution when working with a piece of equipment that contains mercury. If the equipment breaks, the mercury could be released into the air and inhaled as vapour. Inhalation is the most common source of exposure. Proper disposal is the only way to protect the safety of the environment and anyone working with products that contain mercury. If a spill occurs don’t risk trying to clean it up yourself, call A&M Abatement Services for professional hazardous material removal.
How does Mercury Affect Your Health?Mercury can enter the bloodstream through direct contact with the skin, or through the lungs where it is inhaled as vapour. The side effects vary depending on the amount, and the duration, of the exposure. High dose exposure is fatal but even low-dose mercury exposure over a long period of time can result in:
- Birth defects
- Brain damage
- Damage to the nervous system
- Increased risk of miscarriage
- Kidney damage
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss
- Respiratory problems
See a doctor immediately if you suspect that exposure to mercury is negatively impacting your health. Although it occurs naturally, mercury poses a serious health risk to humans. And if spilled mercury makes its way into nearby rivers, lakes and oceans the consequences for wildlife can be serious and far-reaching. That’s why it’s so important to rely on experts like A&M Abatement Services for hazardous material removal.
The professionals at A&M Abatement Services in Edmonton have the skills and the knowledge required to safely and properly dispose of products containing mercury, asbestos, mould and more. When it comes to hazardous material removal, don’t take a chance on your health, leave it to the professionals. Contact us today for a free estimate.