How dangerous is mercury from a thermometer to humans

How dangerous is mercury from a thermometer to humans – so the question is people, faced with a deformed mercury thermometer. To measure the exact temperature of the body has spread thermometers using alcohol, glycerine, mercury, and electronic devices.

As practice shows, mercury thermometers show the accurate temperature readings of the body, due to the high conductivity of mercury and almost linear expansion coefficient of the metal.

Along with this important advantage, thermometers based on mercury are very harmful, and even dangerous drawback is the toxicity of the substance and tendency to accumulate in the body, which can even lead to fatal cases of poisoning.

Features mercury thermometer

At home and even a hospital setting is widely used mercury thermometers, as they give a error of only 0.01°C. This accuracy is achieved thanks to the amazing properties of liquid metal – mercury.

Feature of mercury is quite remarkable. The melting point of this chemical is only 38,8°C, and therefore under normal conditions it is in liquid form. Like all metals, the mercury in the thermometer when the temperature increases it expands, and when the temperature is reduced.

Liquid mercury has properties to moisturize and stay on the glass, which produces thermometers. This allows to achieve high precision of the measuring instrument by the use of glass tubes of very small cross-section.

It is important to remember that mercury is nothing like a highly toxic poison and belongs to the 1st class of very toxic substances.

The above properties make the metal indispensible in the manufacture of thermometers. However, mercury and any connections with it are quite toxic and poisonous. For this reason in some countries even refused to use thermometers on a mercury-based.

The danger of damaged mercury thermometer

With proper and careful treatment with mercury thermometer, if you store it in a protected place, in a special case, please use only under adult supervision, it does not bear risk.

But when all has crashed a thermometer with mercury, a danger for the human body are like shards of glass and spilled mercury from the glass tube. This substance characteristic is not peculiar to other metals very low melting temperature – 38,8°C, and at a temperature of +18°C, it evaporates.

You need to remember that as the mercury evaporates in the open air, and under water.

Very toxic are a pair of liquid mercury, as in the inhalation vapours reach the lungs, further, the mercury is oxidized and in the oxidized state negatively affects the condition of the body. Very toxic element ions, which are formed by oxidation of the metal.

The effect of spilled mercury from a thermometer on the human body

Mercury thermometer may contain dangerous liquid mercury in an amount of from 1 to 2 grams of the substance. This amount clean mercury out of the glass tube is enough to poison a human body of varying severity. The symptoms of such poisoning can not occur, as the metal has a property of accumulation.

Depending on the duration of exposure and concentration of mercury there are the following types of poisoning:

  • Chronic poisoning: in constant contact with metal, with long hours of work in a closed room with the vapor concentration is slightly higher than the MPC. Expressed General weakness, severe undue fatigue, head pain, increased irritability and dizziness. May manifest after a couple of years.
  • Acute poisoning: high concentration, can happen after only 2-3 hours. Expressed metallic taste, pain in the abdomen, head and swallowing and lack of appetite. This poisoning is often accompanied by pneumonia.
  • Micromercurialism: at very low mercury concentrations, but over long periods of time from 5 to 10 years. Manifested in the form of protracted respiratory disease, increased bleeding of the gums, tremor of fingers, different disorders of the nervous system and violation of the cycle in young women.

In most mercury toxic vapors enters the human body through the lungs. When it comes to large spill of mercury, poisoning can also occur through mucous membranes and pores of the skin. Basically, the metal has a detrimental effect on the nervous system, the respiratory tract and kidneys.

If the substance enters the body with food, it has no significant effect, as it is almost all excreted by the body through the intestines without absorption in the blood. Removing the remaining part is a long time through the kidneys.

You need to remember that mercury is characteristic neurotoxic effects on the human body, occurring in the form of destruction of nerve cells.

Particularly sensitive to the action of vapors people with weakened immune systems and young children and pregnant women.

For a long period of penetration into the body is small, but dangerous doses of mercury may provoke a severe inflammatory processes in organs and systems. Inbasically a mercury vapor intoxication leads to pneumonia, paralysis and blindness.

Considering all the aspects of the negative effects of mercury on the human body, it is necessary not only to detect the symptoms of mercury exposure, right remove and dispose of spills, but to provide emergency assistance.

Assistance in case of intoxication with mercury

To treat mercury poisoning only in the hospital. As the mercury from a broken thermometer is very dangerous in terms of the house needs to immediately provide first aid. It is to alleviate the condition poisoned and consists of events:

  • to organize the supply of fresh air into the room;
  • rinse with plenty of water, the stomach;
  • induce vomiting;
  • to apply activated carbon;
  • ensure to drink plenty of liquids;
  • to ensure that the patient bed rest.

Given measures should be carried out if victim is fully conscious. When a person is unconscious, it is necessary to quickly release from the constricting clothes, lay on its side. You should also exclude the ceasing of the language and to ensure supply of fresh air.

What to do if you accidentally broke a thermometer

In that case, if damaged mercury thermometer in a hospital, at work or at home, it is necessary to call the emergency services and implement the following recommendations:

  • No need to panic, it is precisely to determine what crashed it mercury thermometer and place of the incident.
  • Withdraw from the premises where were a damaged appliance, all that people and Pets, except for those who have clothes or wool there are remnants of mercury. So localising and eliminating the spacing of the spilled mercury in the remaining areas.
  • To prevent the access of people in the room, which is poisoned with mercury.
  • You need to open the Windows and close all doors to ensure fresh air and exclude the draughts that can spread mercury vapor in the neighboring rooms.
  • Wearing Shoe covers, rubber gloves, a respirator or moistened cotton-gauze bandage, which was moistened with water or strong solution of soda for respiratory protection from the action of vapors.
  • When collecting balls of mercury, you must be very careful, do not step on the glass shards of the thermometer.
  • After the cleaning of the mercury is required to drink plenty of any water and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • In the preventive purposes it is necessary to drink activated charcoal in a therapeutic dosage.
  • All collected balls of mercury must be put in a glass container with water, close it tight lid.
  • All the utensils and clothing that were used during the collection of mercury should be placed in plastic and disposed of.

The collection of toxic metal need to carry out promptly, especially if the room is warm. Otherwise, the mercury will start to evaporate and will cause damage to the respiratory system.

Almost every home kit lies mercury thermometer. When using this attribute it is absolutely safe for humans. If the thermometer is accidentally broken, do not panic, it is crucial to collect all metal balls.