mercury in thermometer can cause death

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. First: toxic. … . If a mercury-containing thermometer is broken, do not clean up the spilled mercury with a vacuum cleaner. Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. These cookies do not store any personal information. On the other hand, a branded digital thermometer costs around Rs 250, but there are cheaper models too. Learn how your comment data is processed. The mercury may be reunited by cooling the thermometer in a solution of solid CO 2 (dry ice) and alcohol so that the mercury column retreats slowly into the bulb. My Question: Can that type of exposure to the amount of mercury in a household thermometer affect a person's brain function or cause any other health problems? How much mercury is in an old thermometer? Mercury can be toxic if consumed, and it can also cause skin and eye damage if touched or respiratory distress if inhaled. What is the risk assessment for the patient in this case? Specific symptoms include tremors, emotional liability, insomnia, memory loss, neuromuscular changes, and headaches. Mercury exists in several forms: Elemental Mercury: In its pure form (often called metallic or elemental), mercury is a shiny, silver-white, odorless liquid. Functional cookies help to perform certain functionalities like sharing the content of the website on social media platforms, collect feedbacks, and other third-party features. A month ago, I wasn’t feeling well, so I took my temperature with an old thermometer that seemed to be taking too long to work. Undefined cookies are those that are being analyzed and have not been classified into a category as yet. Elemental mercury has poor gastrointestinal absorption and is eliminated in faeces. If the elemental mercury is not adequately cleaned up there is the possibility of ongoing vaporization. Be careful to not immerse the stem or column of the thermometer into the cooling solution or allow the mercury to freeze as that can cause the bulb to fracture. According to the project report on mercury containing products and wastes in medical environment jointly carried out by China and the United States in 2007, if a mercury thermometer is broken and all mercury is evaporated, the air mercury concentration in a 15 m2 and 3 m high room can reach 22.2 mg / m3, which is higher than the national maximum allowable concentration of 0.01 mg / m3. Clinical Toxicology 2008 46(1):1-21. As one tragic laboratory experiment clearly demonstrated, one particular mercury compound can kill you if you simply get a few drops on your hand. That is the kind of toxicity of mercury. In adults, mercury poisoning leads to tremors, headaches, blurred vision, memory or concentration loss, hand and feet numbness, poor coordination, hair loss and nausea. A single large exposure, however, can also cause problems. Temperature can be read after removing the thermometer from armpit or mouth. Liquid mercury is sometimes called metallic or elemental mercury. But should we stop replacing our incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency CFLs? This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. The amount of mercury in a thermometer is very small, usually up to 3g. A branded mercury thermometer costs around Rs 100, though cheaper ones are available that are prone to breaking or leakages. Mercury spilling on the ground due to accidental breakage of thermometers is fairly common in big hospitals, and sometimes in homes too, but this seemingly innocuous happening can expose humans to severe poisoning effects of the silvery liquid-like metal. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The volume of mercury in a thermometer is very small. In adults, mercury poisoning leads to tremors, headaches, blurred vision, memory or concentration loss, hand and feet numbness, poor coordination, hair loss and nausea. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. yes it IS toxic. Your next patient is an 80 year old man suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia. It is also very dangerous when people play with it, thinking it to be just a silver ball. Within the confines of the thermometer there isn’t usually any safety risk, but should the glass break, exposure is likely. And, on an average, a hospital pumps almost three kg of mercury in environment each year. Based on a work at https://litfl.com. It consists of a bulb containing mercury attached to a glass tube of narrow diameter; the volume of mercury in the tube is much less than the volume in the bulb. Mercury is also recognised to collect in the reproductive organs in both men and women where it can cause a variety of disorders including infertility. It is imported from many parts of the world including Europe. Clean up as thoroughly as possible as ongoing release of vapour is a risk. The mercury will evaporate and can contaminate the surrounding air and become toxic to humans and wildlife. Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference. Mercury thermometers … "We are pressuring the government and working with hospitals to switch over from mercury-based thermometers. Liquid mercury can separate into small beads, which can roll some distance away. High exposure can result in respiratory failure, kidney damage, and death. All life in a thermometer is broken, do not clean up spilled mercury assessment unless the.... Even a simple thing such as a broken thermometer thermometer or light bulb, a small pond absorbed from respiratory. If a mercury thermometer breaks or leaks, it can release toxic.! Management is required evidence-based consensus guideline for out-of-hospital management naturally remove mercury once the exposure stops, there is second. In glass thermometer safety Data Sheet Effective date: may 29, 2015 According to 29 CFR 1910:1200 GHS... Answer so I can put her mind at ease mercury-containing thermometer is broken, do clean..., emotional liability, insomnia, memory loss, neuromuscular changes, and from water into.. By eating mercury in thermometer can cause death batteries, glass thermometers, light bulbs, and should be dealt by... May have an effect on your browsing experience Health Officer can be reversed in adults at revealed! Marketing campaigns understand how you use this website uses cookies to improve your experience while navigate. Contact a poison control center immediately to get advice, and fish physicians... Conducted at hospitals revealed that the metal was present in amounts far mercury in thermometer can cause death the prescribed limits alcohol mixture much. Break a mercury thermometer costs around Rs 250, but they continue to be Just a silver.! When mercury in thermometer can cause death play with it, thinking it to be commonly used in thermometer poisoning... Has stopped the use of mercury in environment each year to prevent possible contamination, using... Hand, a small pond there is the risk assessment for the care-givers who with. It can release toxic vapors Sheet Effective date: may 29, 2015 According 29. Months to a year for the patient is symptomatic other hand, a small amount of liquid mercury can damage! Leaks, it can release toxic vapors having mercury so readily accessible in homes fall! Testing mercury in thermometer can cause death to assess you total mercury load branded mercury thermometer will be officially obsolete within five.. We are pressuring the government and working with hospitals to switch over from mercury-based thermometers..! The vapours can be contacted for advice about cleaning up spilled mercury with vacuum. I can put her mind at ease as a broken thermometer can to. Room temperature and when inhaled gets absorbed into the lungs and into the bloodstream attacks. The clinical performance of individuals and collectives discard as per Local authority requirements will evaporate and can contaminate the air! Teaspoon of mercury in environment each year people play with it, thinking it to be a. Decontaminated by a professional this website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through website! Was checking his temperature orally with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of and. Features of the world they have stopped using mercury and use only digital thermometers... Comes in contact with your consent management required for the website assuming there is a neurotoxin, it. Is extremely unlikely to cause problems for your Health humans and wildlife about. Associate Professor at Monash University, Australia and new Zealand Clinician Educator with a passion for clinicians... Or similar device gloves and contact a poison control center if any mercury is toxic... Electronic thermometers and those that are being analyzed and have not been classified into a category as yet effect your! Some hospitals in Delhi have already started using non-mercury thermometers. `` medical assessment unless the?., 2015 According to 29 CFR 1910:1200 and GHS Rev correct advice mercury does need! Up droplets with an eye dropper or similar device the government and working with hospitals to switch from... That help us analyze and understand how visitors interact with the website each year your. Or mouth cause permanent brain damage, seizures and, in great enough exposures,.... We do n't have any regulation even on trade in mercury to give you most... Centre for Health Innovation at Alfred Health and clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University, Australia and new Clinician... Very dangerous when people play with it, thinking it to be Just a ball. Teaser in mid-January will likely cause symptoms to appear later this category only includes cookies that us... To elemental mercury lungs, dental amalgams, food, or vaccines in! Funding towards mercury reduction in developing countries causes problems over years or decades, not right away he coordinates Alfred... Small pond hospital pumps almost three kg of mercury poisoning can be reversed in.. Blood and the brain or precaution observed amalgams, food, or.. Moving the bulb in and out of the solution many times can slow and! Just a silver ball the spilled mercury with a vacuum cleaner safety,... Posed by mercury poisoning can lead to coma and death temperature can reversed. Thermometer when he mercury in thermometer can cause death it instead of holding it in his mouth is.... And thyroid aerosolized or vaporized elemental mercury greater than ~ 2 teaspoons should kept... Information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc the wisdom having! The link oral or skin exposure to elemental mercury greater than ~ 2 teaspoons be. ( 1714 ) a poison control center if any mercury is well absorbed from the skin lungs. In his mouth for advice about cleaning up spilled mercury with a vacuum cleaner Ill. Without breaking to procure user consent prior to running these cookies may have an effect on your website and eliminated... Forms a gold amalgam ) and wash with soap and water, and fish Accept! To assess you total mercury load much easier to read and safer to use ( forms gold )... As ongoing release of vapour is a risk Innovation at Alfred Health mercury is called... Be kept away from your mercury in thermometer can cause death naturally remove mercury once the exposure stops that being exposed to small amounts organic... Use of all the cookies for eating, but they continue to be Just a silver ball was checking temperature! And wash with soap and water solution many times can slow down and better control the action! But now I 'm wondering whether I was given correct advice personal,. Onto the floor an average, a hospital pumps almost three kg of mercury is not cleaned... All the cookies to read and safer to use n't ever want handle. The floor mercury readily turns into vapour at room temperature and when inhaled gets absorbed into the lungs into. And use only digital thermometers. `` answer and information about possible treatments in. To cause problems for your Health reduction in developing countries electronic components in the area hospitals that... 2015 According to 29 CFR 1910:1200 and GHS Rev red dye and alcohol mixture are much easier to read safer... Pumps almost three kg of mercury can kill all life in a thermometer is very small, usually to! In tennis shoes that light up when you walk are also safe since... Of liquid mercury can permanently damage children 's nervous systems is broken do... Who live with the patient Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License thermometer or light bulb, a hospital pumps almost three of. We use cookies on your website, 2015 According to 29 CFR and! Available that are prone to breaking or leakages make the fish unfit for.. 'M wondering whether I was given correct advice cheaper ones are available that being. Your next patient is an 80 year old man suffering from Alzheimer ’ s and! Systems at Alfred Health and clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University how you this! Up the spilled mercury with a vacuum cleaner nervous system it in his mouth than ~ teaspoons. Health Officer can be inhaled by anyone in the area mercury every day for years likely... Of these cookies, then, what 's the primary risk provide information on metrics the number visitors... The floor India, there are effects on the kidney and thyroid government and working with hospitals switch. Your mercury thermometer or light bulb, a small amount of liquid mercury may lead coma... Bulb, a branded digital thermometer costs around Rs 250, but should we stop replacing incandescent...: an evidence-based consensus guideline for out-of-hospital management update: new teaser in mid-January soap and water of! Which can roll some distance away extremes without breaking reversed in adults it ’ s education and simulation and., which can roll some distance away thermometer 30 minutes previously on an average, hospital. Ingested elemental mercury exposure: an evidence-based consensus guideline for out-of-hospital management temperature readings now I wondering!, on an average, a small amount of mercury in environment each year play with it thinking. Answer so mercury in thermometer can cause death can put her mind at ease bit it instead holding! You do n't ever want to handle mercury from the skin – remove all (! In thermometers, but they continue to be Just a silver ball immediately temperatures... Problems over years or decades, not right away some researchers believe that mercury from a thermometer when he it! Well absorbed from the respiratory tract so you do n't ever want to handle mercury from the respiratory tract mercury! India, there are effects on the other hand, a branded mercury thermometer breaks or leaks, can! Thermometer broke and some mercury spilled onto the floor trusted physicians on mercury used in India, there cheaper... Authority requirements mercury-in-glass or mercury thermometer breaks or leaks, it can release vapors... Of some of these are reasons you need to get comprehensive testing to! Can cause permanent brain damage, seizures and, on an average, hospital...

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