What to do if the thermometer crashedBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/what-to-do-if-the-thermometer-crashed
Mercury thermometers, although gradually giving way to electronic ones, are still available in many families. Therefore, situations when this device breaks, and its contents end up on the floor, are not so rare. It's worth saying right away that it's not worth demonizing thermometers — the amount of mercury in them is not enough for a global environmental catastrophe on the scale of a house or even an apartment. But, nevertheless, everyone should know what to do if such a thermometer has been damaged.
Mercury is a toxic metal that can cause serious damage to a person and even cause fatal poisoning. Invisible and odorless mercury vapors are especially dangerous, because of which serious problems most often arise.
In case of large-scale spills of liquid metal, urgent evacuation and a complex and lengthy procedure for demercurization of the room are necessary. But in the thermometer, this chemical element is contained in scanty quantities, so you can solve the problem yourself without disturbing specialists. The main thing in such work is speed and compliance with instructions.
As soon as you notice that your thermometer has broken or cracked and mercury has flowed out of it, you should remove children, pets and, preferably, people who are not participating in the event from the premises. After that, you need to turn off all heating devices and, if there is no risk of creating a draft, open a window pane or window.
Then you should change into things that you will not be sorry to throw away, and put shoe covers or at least plastic bags on your feet. It is important to protect the respiratory organs from toxic fumes, so a respirator or gauze bandage is mandatory. Hands in such cases are protected with rubber gloves, which you will have to get rid of after cleaning.
For the collected mercury, you need to prepare a tightly closed container, into which a solution of potassium permanganate or plain water is poured. As tools, you will have to use improvised means, so look for a medical syringe with a thin needle, a rubber medical pear, a needle, a Band-Aid and a sheet of thick cardboard.
The mercury scattered around the room is collected from the edges to the center of the room. Drops having a sufficiently large size are pushed with a spoke onto a sheet of cardboard and poured into a container. You can try to collect medium drops using a medical pear or a syringe. As a rule, the smallest mercury balls cause the most trouble. They need to be collected with the sticky side of the patch and also placed in a solution of potassium permanganate or water.
If you are not sure that you have found all the metal, use a flashlight — mercury glitters in the light, so it will be much easier to find it this way. All things that have come into contact with mercury, as well as the fragments of the thermometer, must be collected and packed in a sealed box or bag.
Surfaces in contact with mercury should be treated with a solution of potassium permanganate, and after an hour, rinse with a soapy soda solution. During the next day, such a wet cleaning will have to be done 2-3 more times. Of course, the rags and sponges that were used for cleaning are no longer suitable for further use. After all the mercury is collected, call the Ministry of Emergency Situations at 112 and ask where you can dispose of dangerous metal and things that came into contact with it.
When the work is completed, and all dangerous items will be packed in sealed bags or other containers, it's time to take care of yourself. Rinse your throat and mouth with a weak solution of potassium permanganate or soda, and then brush your teeth. Take 2-3 tablets of activated charcoal and go to the shower, where you can swim well under running water. For the next couple of days, try to consume as much liquid as possible.
The most common mistake in eliminating the consequences of a mercury spill is collecting metal with a vacuum cleaner. This cannot be done for two important reasons. Firstly, after such a mechanized cleaning, you will have to dispose of your vacuum cleaner, and secondly, by contacting the heated parts of this household appliance, mercury will evaporate and poison the air.
You can't collect mercury with a broom. This is not only ineffective, but on the contrary, it will only aggravate the situation. The twigs of the broom will crush the metal droplets into fine dust and it will be much more difficult to collect it. Mercury itself, as well as things and tools used in its collection, should not be thrown into the sewer, garbage chute or into the garbage area in the yard. Everything must be disposed of exclusively through specialized organizations that have a license and appropriate equipment.
It also happens that the mercury scattered from the thermometer turns out to be in a place inaccessible for cleaning, for example, in the crevices of the floor. In such cases, you can not do without the help of specialists. Immediately call the employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations or employees of the private demercurization service, who will professionally solve your problem.
It is worth recalling that in the old days, when the danger of mercury was not yet known, this metal killed and maimed many people who used it for a variety of purposes.