Mercury clean up


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Mercury clean up

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Department of University Safety & Assurances Mercury Spill Cleanup Procedures
  3. 3. Mercury is a Hazardous Material • Mercury (Hg) is a hazardous material as defined by: • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources • U.S. Dept. of Transportation US&A (v. 2/07)
  4. 4. Mercury is a Toxic Substance • Mercury poisoning can result in severe health problems affecting the nervous system and other organs. • Tremors • Changes in vision or hearing • Insomnia • Weakness • Difficulty with memory • Headaches • Irritability • Shyness and nervousness • Acrodynia (painful extremities), a condition caused by chronic exposure to mercury US&A (v. 2/07)
  5. 5. Mercury Exposure & Prevention • Routes of exposure • Inhalation • Main hazard • Evaporates releasing hazardous vapors • Skin absorption • Personal Protective Equipment Required • Nitrile gloves • Safety glasses • Closed-toed shoes • Lab coat US&A (v. 2/07)
  6. 6. Who do you Contact? • Questions regarding mercury or spill procedures should directed to: • Professor • Laboratory supervisor • Own supervisor • UWM Department of Safety & Assurances at x6339 • Note: Any release greater than one pound (two tablespoons) to the environment is a Reportable Quantity. US&A (v. 2/07)
  7. 7. Spills • Prevention is the best way to handle mercury spills. • All mercury "spills," including droplets of mercury from a broken lab thermometer, must be cleaned up following safe and environmentally sound procedures. US&A (v. 2/07)
  8. 8. Contain Spill • Prevent the spread of mercury. • Trays should be used under equipment wherever a mercury spill is possible. • Mercury beads can splash and roll around. • Prevent mercury from entering cracks, crevices, and drains. • Do not walk in area of spill. • Evacuate room via route away from spill. US&A (v. 2/07)
  9. 9. Restricted Area • Cease activities. • Secure the area around the spill, so the mercury does not get "tracked" or "kicked" around. • Keep the area restricted until the entire spill is cleaned up. • Lower room temperature to reduce evaporation. US&A (v. 2/07)
  10. 10. Temporary Control • Spill powder may be used as a temporary control measure. • Commercial spill kits. • Mix 85 grams of finely powdered Sodium Thiosulfate with 15 grams of finely powdered EDTA. US&A (v. 2/07)
  11. 11. Temporary Control • Cover from the perimeter of the spill toward the center. • Do not walk through the spill or spill powder. • Pick-up glass and other large debris, then clean up mercury. • All debris must be disposed of as hazardous waste. US&A (v. 2/07)
  12. 12. Mercury Vacuum • A special vacuum cleaner, which is designed to pick up mercury droplets safely, is available for cleanup. • NEVER use a regular vacuum. US&A (v. 2/07)
  13. 13. Location of Mercury Vacuum • Chemistry Department: • Second floor stockroom. • Contact the stockroom personnel when needed. • Other departments: • Contact University Safety & Assurances (x6339) for assistance with spill clean- up. US&A (v. 2/07)
  14. 14. Use of Mercury Vacuum • The stockroom personnel will clean up the spill. • You may be trained in the proper use of the mercury vacuum. • UWM Department of Safety & Assurances staff may also be called for assistance. US&A (v. 2/07)
  15. 15. Other Cleanup Tools • A side-arm flask connected to a vacuum pump or sink aspirator can be used to vacuum up small beads. US&A (v. 2/07)
  16. 16. Other Cleanup Tools • Wet toweling to consolidate small beads into larger pieces for vacuuming • Commercial spill kits • Disposable eyedropper • Adhesive tape • Cardboard US&A (v. 2/07)
  17. 17. Special Care • Special attention must be given to cleaning cracks and crevices where the mercury beads may have easily settled. US&A (v. 2/07)
  18. 18. Mercury Waste • Includes the mercury and all waste materials contaminated with mercury. • Gloves and other contaminated debris. • Must be placed in a labeled leak-proof, polyethylene container. US&A (v. 2/07)
  19. 19. Disposal • No mercury, including broken thermometers, may be disposed of in the normal trash or into the sewer system. • UWM Hazardous Waste Manager (x4999) will properly dispose of all waste. US&A (v. 2/07)
  20. 20. Assistance After Hours After Hours: • If no help is available, contact the University Police. • 9-911 in an emergency (229-9911 by cell phone) • x4627 if non-emergency. • Explain that you have a mercury spill. • Indicate whether the spill is small, a broken thermometer, or large, more than 1 or 2 ml (1/4 teaspoon). US&A (v. 2/07)
  21. 21. Assistance After Hours • The police will contact a University Safety & Assurances staff member for assistance. • If the spill is large or if it must be cleaned up right away, you will be directed to: • Secure the area. • Wait until response personnel arrive (usually 30 to 60 minutes). • The area will be secured/off- limits until the next working day. US&A (v. 2/07)
  22. 22. Special Consideration • Large spills, spills in confined areas with poor ventilation, or spills in areas heated above room temperature must be addressed by trained personnel with protective equipment. A risk of high exposure to mercury vapors can occur in these situations. US&A (v. 2/07)
  23. 23. Summary • Mercury spills are very disruptive. • Lab personnel are encouraged to use extreme caution when using mercury or mercury-containing apparatus. • Thorough decontamination is essential to ensure both personal safety and protection of the environment. US&A (v. 2/07)
  24. 24.