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Air Indoor Resources - Mercury

Mercury Spills

All schools should be prepared with some kind of contingency plan for hazardous spills or releases, but especially for mercury releases as well as procedures for storage of unwanted, unused and out-of-date chemicals.

EPA’s mercury “Spills, Disposal and Site Cleanup” outlines the mercury spill protocols; additionally the “Mercury Response Guidebook’ is also offer at the bottom of this web site. These instructions should be incorporated in all school contingency plans.

Keep a mercury-specific spill kit to and someone on staff AT ALL TIMES who is familiar with using the kit. Also keep a record of who in your area can do spill cleanup professionally. First and foremost--isolate the area--do not allow students or staff to walk through the area. If possible, isolate the area from the rest of the facility’s air handling system to prevent spreading of mercury vapor. Consider evacuating the building to prevent any question of who has been exposed. If people have been exposed, take them to fresh air immediately, don’t let them leave the premises, and call the local health department.

Secondly, determine the size of the spill – anything larger than the amount of mercury in one fever thermometer, which is about 0.5 gram or the size of a pencil eraser – should be cleaned up by a professional, not by your staff. Mercury vapor is odorless and tasteless, making it impossible to know the extent of the exposure.

Mercury spills can easily cost thousands of dollars to clean up. A spill in a Washington DC high school in 2003 had a final cleanup cost of over $1,000,000! Prevent this extraordinary cost from ruining your school’s budget by eliminating this highly toxic compound from your facility – start today!

Contact Information

Wendy Murphy
325 West Gaines Street
Suite, 1054
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: (850) 245-9295