Annually at the National Public Health Center under the Ministry of Health (NVSC) Klaipėda the department receives reports from the Klaipėda County Fire Rescue Board about broken mercury thermometers in households. After receiving the aforementioned information, NVSC specialists organize research on the concentration of mercury vapor in the air of residential premises, evaluate the results of laboratory tests and provide conclusions and recommendations. During the last five years, in Klaipėda County, mainly in Klaipėda city and district, specialists have investigated 30 foci of chemical pollution related to broken medical mercury thermometers.

Mercury – one of the most dangerous heavy metals for human health, whose vapors can cause acute or chronic poisoning. When it accumulates in the body, it can affect the nervous system and cause disorders in the brain. Mercury vapor enters the human body through the respiratory tract, digestive tract, skin and mucous membranes. Its vapor is invisible and has no smell, so it is very easy to get poisoned if you break such a thermometer. The first signs of mercury poisoning are weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting, drooling, metallic taste in the mouth, sometimes abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.

What to do? Spreading mercury balls should be pushed with a stick onto a sheet of paper or into an envelope, they can be collected with adhesive tape, paper smeared with glue. Put the collected mercury in a glass container with water (this heavy metal does not evaporate in water) and close it tightly with a lid. It is necessary to deliver the container with mercury to the large waste reception areas or other hazardous waste collection point.

The premises must be thoroughly washed and ventilated. The surface on which the mercury was spilled should be cleaned with a solution of soap and soda (50 g of soda and 50 g of soap per 1 liter of hot water), the room should be washed several times, well ventilated (at least 24 hours) and try not to be in them until the measurements of mercury vapor concentrations to confirm that residential premises are safe. Measurements of the concentration of mercury vapor in the air are carried out by the National Public Health Surveillance Laboratory on the order of the Klaipėda Department of the NVSC. The center of chemical pollution can be considered decontaminated when, after conducting laboratory tests twice with an interval of 7 days and repeating the tests 2-3 times a year (in different seasons of the year), mercury vapor concentrations in the air do not exceed the maximum permissible concentrations.

What not to do? Spilled mercury must not:

– to vacuum with a vacuum cleaner, because the temperature in the vacuum cleaner is higher than in the rooms, so the vaporization of mercury will be many times more intense, which will further pollute the living quarters and irreversibly contaminate the vacuum cleaner;

– do not sweep, because in this way the mercury will be broken into even smaller droplets and spread even more widely;

– do not pour the collected mercury into the sewage system – it can enter surface waters;

– do not wash contaminated clothes in the washing machine – mercury will irreversibly contaminate the washing machine;

– do not throw into fire – dangerous concentrations of mercury vapor are formed at high temperatures;

– do not throw the collected mercury into the household waste container.

When to call the fire brigade? If it is not possible to collect the broken mercury thermometer yourself (mercury spilled on carpeting, objects or floors with cracks), then call the fire department on the general emergency number 112, who will carry out mechanical and chemical demercurization (removal of mercury from the environment).

Recommendations. Specialists of the Klaipėda department of the NVSC suggest abandoning mercury thermometers and not buying them in illegal markets (market places).

NVSC Klaipėda Department, together with Klaipėda city and district municipalities, urges residents to review their home medicine cabinets, especially to take care of seniors, collect mercury thermometers and deliver them to UAB Klaipėda Regional Waste Management Center’s collection sites for large waste, secondary raw materials and household hazardous waste at the following addresses: . 30, Klaipėda; Tilžės str. 66A, Klaipėda; Plieno str. 13, Klaipėda and Geležinkelios Pylimo str. 6, Gargzhda. Thermometers are accepted free of charge.

– 2024-04-25 11:06:10

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