How poisonous is a broken thermometer?

Hits:Updated:2020-04-11 16:04:35【Print】

In the current epidemic, many people have to measure and report body temperature every day. Although electronic thermometers have become popular, mercury thermometers are still widely used in households in China because of their low price and accurate measurement.Mercury thermometers are fragile, contain toxic mercury, and have a high risk of use, but many people do not pay attention to this risk. The reporter searched the Internet for questions related to "what to do after the thermometer was broken", and found that in the answer to each question, someone said that he had broken it. There was nothing, and no special treatment was needed.
So is this actually the case?
If the broken mercury thermometer is not handled properly, it will affect your health. Although a single exposure to mercury may not cause visible damage, mercury will accumulate in the body and the damage caused is irreversible, so it must be taken seriously.
The correct treatment method is to immediately open the window for ventilation, collect the scattered mercury and seal it, and dispose of it as hazardous waste.
The main hazard of mercury is vapor inhalation
The main hazard of elemental mercury, mercury, is vapor inhalation, which is rarely absorbed through the digestive tract and skin.
If you eat mercury into your belly, don't worry too much, but about 80% of the mercury vapor inhaled by the human body will be absorbed through the respiratory tract and enter the circulatory system and be distributed throughout the body.
Studies have shown that long-term inhalation of mercury vapor, even at low concentrations of 0.7–42 μg / m3, can cause workers to tremor, impaired cognitive ability, and sleep disturbance.
Acute inhalation of high concentrations of mercury vapor can cause various cognitive, personality, sensory, and motor disorders. The most obvious symptoms include:
Tremor (starting with the hand and sometimes spreading to other parts of the body)
Emotional instability (characterized by irritability, extreme shyness, loss of confidence, and anxiety)
Memory loss
Neuromuscular changes (weakness, muscle atrophy, convulsions)
Multiple neuropathy (sensory abnormalities, loss of hand and foot sensation, excessive tendon reflexes, slower sensory and motor nerve response) That is, in a closed room, breaking mercury thermometers is not processed, and mercury vapor concentrations can far exceed health The degree of injury.
Don't do this after breaking the mercury thermometer
Do not use a vacuum cleaner to dispose of mercury: this will disperse the mercury in the air and make it more volatile.
Do not use a broom to clean the mercury: this will cause the mercury to disperse into smaller droplets and run everywhere.
Do not throw mercury into the sewers: mercury may be trapped in the pipes, and there will be problems if the pipes are repaired later. If mercury flows out of the pipeline, it will cause pollution in the septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
Do n’t walk around wearing mercury-contaminated shoes: contaminated clothing can take mercury elsewhere.
Do this after breaking
Let others leave, and don't let anyone walk past where the mercury broke.
Make sure the pet leaves this area.
Open the doors and windows to the outdoors, and close the doors to other rooms.
Don't let your child handle it for you.
Smooth surfaces, such as wooden floors, tiles, floor leather, etc., are easy to clean.
If mercury splashes on carpets, curtains, furniture upholstery, and other absorbent surfaces, these contaminated items should be discarded in accordance with local regulations. Divide and discard the contaminated part of the carpet.


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