Health Tip: If You Spill Mercury

(HealthDay News) -- If you drop and break a thermometer that contains mercury, it's important to minimize exposure to the toxic contents.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers this advice:

  • Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up a mercury spill. Doing so will spread the mercury through the air.

  • For the same reason, don't clean up mercury with a broom.

  • Do not pour mercury down the drain, which can contaminate plumbing and sewage facilities.

  • For the same reason, do not wash clothing contaminated with mercury in a washing machine.

  • Do not wear shoes that could be contaminated with mercury.

Instead, evacuate everyone from the immediate area, open all windows and doors, turn down the temperature, shut all doors to other parts of the house and leave the area. Then, call your local or state health or environmental agency.

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