The Need for Protection Against Mercury Poisoning
Although mercury is a metal, it gives off vapors which are toxic when their concentrations exceed 0.01 milligrams per cubic meter.
Mercury spilled on rough surfaces - where thorough removal is impossible - is an especially active source of these vapors.
Temperature, sunlight and ventilation affect the vapor concentrations in a room. Even low concentrations, under changing conditions, can become dangerous in a short time.
Where mercury is used, the workplace should be checked regularly with a mercury vapor meter to determine if hazardous levels of mercury vapor exist. If they do, the area should be cleaned effectively to reduce the vapor levels to safe limits.
HgX® provides a proven, simple, safe and economical method of accomplishing this cleaning.
Where to use HgX®
Needless to say, anywhere where the possibility of mercury contamination exists... which is just about anywhere metallic mercury, mercury salts or liquids containing mercury are used.
Some typical trouble spots include:
Protection Against Mercury Poisoning
It is Definitely Possible to Reduce or Eliminate Industrial Mercury Poisoning
Good housekeeping is vital. Cleanliness promotes safety. Handle all forms of mercury carefully. Avoid spilling liquid metallic mercury, mercury, mercury salts or liquids containing mercury. Keep all containers tightly closed. Remember... it is easier to prevent an accident than to clean one up.
Ventilation is Crucial
Keep all working areas well ventilated. Use large exhaust fans and always draw the air AWAY from personnel.
THOSE HANDLING mercury salts should wear dust masks, rubber gloves and goggles at all times. They should use boots over drums before dumping. They should avoid contact with any form of mercury, and they should never breathe the fumes.
IF SKIN comes into contact with any form of mercury, it should be washed immediately with soap and water... using soap and water generously. Apply HgX® hand cream according to directions.
Fingers may contaminate the paper on the cigarette, which is burned and the smoke inhaled. Smoking also introduces a fire hazard. Permit smoking only away from mercury-use areas.
Personnel Handling Mercury
PERSONNEL handling mercury should wash hands before meals and shower before leaving work. They should brush their teeth daily.
PERSONNEL handling mercury should wear overalls and light cloth or dust caps when working. These items should be washed or changed frequently.
PERSONNEL in mercury-use areas should wear rubber soled shoes or rubber boots. Leather footwear should be avoided. Leather absorbs liquids that contain mercury. This could affect the skin of the feet.
ROOMS with floors other than cement or concrete should be covered with linoleum. The linoleum should be glued in place with coved edges slanting to one corner so that any spilled mercury will flow to one point, where it can easily be removed. Wash or flush all floors routinely.
KEEP temperatures low... preferably at about 60°. Do not allow personnel to work with mercury in overheated rooms.
For personnel unavoidably subjected to exposure, periodic examinations by competent physicians and dentists are recommended.
Recommended Maximum Atmospheric Concentrations (Eight Hours)
0.01 milligrams of mercury per cubic meter of air. A regular program of air analysis is required to guard against unseen accumulations.
Watch for the following symptoms of excess mercury in the body: foul breath, blackening of teeth, reddening of gums, nervous irritability, trembling of the hands, head, lips, tongue or jaw, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, coughing and pain in the chest. ANYONE EXPERIENCING THESE SYMPTOMS SHOULD CONSULT A PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY.
In addition to the above, we suggest weekly washings or generous spraying with HgX® MERCURY DECONTAMINATION of all floors and wall surfaces in operating areas. HgX® will provide a coating on metallic mercury and react with various mercury salts concealed in cracks and crevices to produce a non-vaporizing form and materially reduce mercury contaminated air from such sources.
HgX® may be applied dry with a brush, broom or mop. It can be sprayed or mixed with saturated sawdust.
See instructions for application on HgX® labels, or email Acton Technologies for free descriptive literature.
Technical Bulletin: Directions for the Reduction of Mercury Vapor
For use on all surfaces exposed to metallic mercury, mercury salts or materials containing mercury in any form. HgX® is particularly recommended for rough surfaces, such as concrete floors having cracks or crevices-wooden floors with open joints, etc.
Distribute 8 oz. of HgX® powder evenly over 100 sq. ft. of floor area to be treated. Brush or sweep HgX® lightly into all cracks and crevices, then spray, sprinkle or swab with water.
For the initial treatment add 1.5 pounds of HgX® slowly or sift into 5 gallons of water - do not dump. Subsequent applications may be reduced to 1 pound for each 5 gallons of water. HgX® solution should be milky. If clear, increase quantity. Apply with a sprayer, large whitewash brush or mop. Saturate surface thoroughly and allow to stand over night, preferably over holidays or weekends. Rinse-mop or sponge with clear water to remove residual HgX®, if necessary.
We suggest washing or generous spraying of all floors and wall surfaces every two weeks in operating areas with HgX® which will provide a coating or film on metallic mercury or reduce to non-vaporizing form. HgX® will also react with various Mercury compounds and materially reduce mercury contaminated air from such sources.
For regular sweeping, we suggest saturating ordinary sawdust with HgX® solution as described herein. You will reduce the dust hazard and treat the area at the same time.
Closed System Method
To decontaminate closed systems which cannot be treated practically by the wet method outlined above, fill the system with HgX® solution (1.5 pounds in 5 gallons of water) and agitate or circulate the solution for several hours. Drop the solution and flush thoroughly with clear water. Repeat if necessary.
Due to the variations in the water supply in certain areas the quantity of HgX® may require some adjustment. If the water, after adding the recommended quantity of HgX®, does not turn milky (white) within 15 minutes or half hour, add additional HgX® until it does. The solution upon standing several hours (overnight) will turn clear but retain its efficacy. The precipitation on the bottom of the container is merely the excess above saturation.
CAUTION: Be sure to properly ventilate all areas suspected of mercury contamination. Continue adequate ventilation during decontamination procedures until mercury vapor concentration is lowered to acceptable levels. HgX® Powder and HgX® Solution may cause corrosion to some metals. Clean all treated metal surfaces with clear water and dry thoroughly. Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing. Use rubber gloves. Do not mix HgX® with other cleaning agents or any other materials. Use cold tap water to make up solutions.