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Mercury thermometer breaks and spills in the house. What are the risk?

Answered by
Dr. Ashish Mittal


Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1856 Questions

Posted on Mon, 4 Feb 2013 in Environmental and Occupational Hazards
Question: Is it XXXXXXX if a mercury thermameter breaks and spills in the house?If it is XXXXXXX what should be the corrective action to take? I have one month old baby in home.
Thanks in Advance!
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 2 hours later
Thanks for your query.
I appreciate your efforts for medical consultation in so much distress.

The air in a room can reach contamination levels just from the mercury in a broken thermometer - just a few drops. So all mercury spills, regardless of quantity, should be treated seriously. Metallic mercury slowly evaporates when exposed to the air. When liquid mercury is spilled, it forms droplets that can accumulate in the tiniest of spaces and then emit vapors.

So following steps will help you:
-Clean the room in which thermometer got broken daily
-Keep room well ventilated
-Restrict access of your child in that room for 4-5 days
-Meet physician if you see following sign/symptoms of mercury poisoning in children: Red cheeks, nose and lips, loss of hair, teeth, and nails, transient rashes, hypotonia (muscle weakness), and increased sensitivity to light.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wish you good health.
Dr Ashish XXXXXXX Mittal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Ashish Mittal 22 hours later
Dear Doctor,
Thank you so much for your prompt reply!So kind of you!

I have another question, Should I do any screening tests to my baby in order to re-assure that he is not infected? And how long it takes to completely evoporate this mercury?

Again I thank you so much for your valuable reply!

Thanks and Advance!
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 8 hours later
Hello again,
Thanks for follow up.

There is no standard guideline for evaporation time. But in my view you can resume normal utilization of room after 1 week.

There is no need to test mercury exposure in your child. Just monitor symptoms mentioned in primary reply for 2-3 weeks, and XXXXXXX physician if they are present.

Please accept my answer in case there are no further queries and recommend our services to your friends too if you have found it helpful.

Wish you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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