Mercury is a liquid at room temperature. When exposed to the environment, it easily evaporates into a very toxic and odorless gas. It is even more poisonous because you can’t detect if the air is already contaminated with mercury gas just by smelling. That’s why the Canadian Pediatric Association does not recommend using mercury thermometers at homes. It has already been established that if just a single fever mercury thermometer breaks and the inhabitants inhale the gas without knowledge then chances are they will experience bouts of sickness, and regularly too. If that is the effect of a single mercury thermometer, what would happen if mercury thermometers are not correctly disposed of? The effect is unimaginable. The health implications would be disastrous.
If in your home you rent a garbage bin, you will find that one of the waste materials that companies that deal with disposal bin rental Toronto won’t let you put in their disposal bins is anything that contains mercury. Because if any waste containing mercury breaks, it may not only be hazardous to the health of the people near but could even be fatal. If you are found with mercury wastes in their disposal bins, they may charge you hefty fees so as to call for extra support to correctly dispose of the wastes since it may require special expertise so as not to release the toxins in the air.
Since the option of disposing of your mercury thermometers in rental bins is unavailable you might be wondering how then to safely go about it. This is how:
First, you have to determine whether your thermometer uses mercury. If it is made of glass and has a silver bulb, then you can be sure it contains mercury.
What first happens if a mercury thermometer breaks? As mentioned before, don’t throw it in the sink or a bin rental. Also, do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the mercury spill since the vacuum cleaner will be contaminated and the heat in it will create higher levels of mercury vapor. Don’t also use a broom, don’t put contaminated items in a washing machine. And most importantly, if a mercury thermometer breaks keep everyone including pets away. If someone inhales the vapor, they may experience shortness of breath. If this happens, seek medical attention immediately.
Now, if you want to correctly dispose of a mercury thermometer, the best way is to take the thermometer to a household hazardous waste facility.
- First research on household hazardous waste facilities near your area
- Pack the thermometer in a puncture-resistant, non-breakable sealed container and then label it “MERCURY” with a permanent marker, to post a warning on anyone who will come across the container that the contents are hazardous.
- Afterwards, take it to a nearby local household hazardous waste facility
- There, they have equipped machinery designed to protect against toxic gas release to the environment during disposal processes.
With those tips of mercury disposal process, you can ensure that you and your family are safe around mercury thermometers, and that is if it is absolutely necessary to have one in the first place.