safely dispose of mercury 2020

How to Dispose of Mercury Safely: Your Complete Guide

It’s estimated that almost 60,000 children are born each year that may develop neurodevelopment problems.  This is because of in utero exposure to mercury.

It’s believed that 6 to 8 percent of women between the ages of 16 and 49 are exposed to mercury. Negative side effects are almost guaranteed for infants. That’s because developing embryos are five to 10 times more sensitive to mercury than adults.

Most people are exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish. This shows how interconnected everything truly is.

What Are the Effects of Mercury Exposure?

If exposed to mercury in high doses, it can have numerous adverse effects on your health, such as:

  • harming the immune system;
  • alters genetic and enzyme systems;
  • damages the nervous system;
  • hurts coordination, and;
  • changes the sense of touch, taste, and sight.

In the most severe cases, mercury poisoning results in death.

Knowing how to dispose of mercury is important for the health of the environment. In this guide, we’ll cover the appropriate steps you should take for mercury disposal.

How to Dispose of Mercury

Disposing of mercury safely is of the utmost importance.

The last thing you want is for mercury to leak and come into contact with yourself, family, or employees. This can lead to devastating consequences.

For a business that qualifies as a universal waste handler, it must follow regulations set forth by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Universal wastes containing mercury include such things as certain batteries, thermostats, barometers, manometers, temperature and pressure gauges, specific switches, and light bulbs.

Households are exempt from these strict regulations. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dispose of mercury following safety guidelines though. Many states and local municipalities have household hazardous waste collection programs.

There are also many businesses that offer mail-in disposal services for mercury. The steps for how this service works is quite simple. You order a storage container from their service, place your mercury within the container, then mail it back to their facility for it to be processed.

Packaging Steps

  • Once you’ve ordered a storage container, place the mercury-containing product inside.
  • Pour kitty litter or an oil-absorbent matter around the outside of the product. This protects the product from being jostled around and broken open. If it DOES break open, the kitty litter or oil-absorbent matter will absorb the mercury. If using a waste disposal service, check their instructions, as they may differ on this.
  • Label the storage container as “Mercury – DO NOT OPEN” or follow whatever instructions the waste disposal service provides.
  • If waiting for a hazardous waste collection day, store it with labels intact out of reach of children and pets. If using a disposal service provider, mail the container back to the service.

Always Be Safe

Mercury poisoning is a real threat to the planet and all life upon it. Knowing how to dispose of mercury the proper way is essential, whether you operate a business or are cleaning out your home.

We hope this guide proved useful in showing you the appropriate steps to follow to dispose of your mercury-containing product. If you enjoyed this article, we invite you to read other posts on our website.

Contact LampMaster today to have all your waste disposal needs met.


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