Mercury: lethal dose, and effect on human health

Mercury vapor and impact on health

In everyday life we are faced with the only liquid metal is mercury in thermometers. When the temperature increases it expands, and the lower is compressed. It is easily separated from the walls of the thermometer. All this makes it a versatile substance for measuring the temperature of the human body.

But the thermometer is the tool of the fragile. And when it breaks, quite often. Here a man is danger in the form of mercury vapor. And begins to evaporate it is already at +18 °C. How this affects your health and what to do if the house crashed thermometer?

Mercury and its features

This substance people have used for a long time. Painting, Venetian mirrors, medicine, architecture: in the XVI — XVIII centuries, mercury has been claimed. And that it’s poisonous, has been known. When manufacturing various products, he killed many people. The lethal dose of mercury for humans is 2.5 g by inhalation of its vapors. Death occurs within a few days.

Mercury stemmed not only from the thermometers, but also from energy-saving light bulbs. You’re not getting sick from one broken bulb. But if they fight often, chronic poisoning is possible. Acute poisoning occurs when the concentration of the substance 0,13-0,80 mg/m.

Mercury is the only liquid metal silver color, capable of evaporation. In free form not found in nature, only in compounds. The substance itself is not particularly toxic or potent poison, as is commonly believed. The danger of mercury vapor:

  • when poisoning through the skin poisoning occurs gradually;
  • when the metal gets into the mucous membranes or into the body, the blow falls on the liver;
  • the most dangerous way of entry – inhalation of fumes.

When inhaled, the taste of mercury is not felt, sometimes in the mouth it feels a little metallic taste. The pair have no color, no taste, no smell. Therefore, pairs can be poisoned without even knowing it.

Water, air, food products may contain this element. Industrial dip in the pond, you can also get poisoned. If the work is connected with the liquid metal, it can have an impact on health. In everyday life people still use mercury thermometers, are not always aware of how dangerous they are. It’s more of a habit and mistrust of new technologies.

How harmful mercury from a broken thermometer

Understand that the mercury flows away from the thermometer, is quite simple. Tube, in which it was, becomes empty, and on the surface, where it happened, ride the silver balls of different sizes. Not always it’s considered so important. «Ball» with a broom sweep in the trash and think I did the right thing. But it’s not.

Mercury is easily spread over the surface, mercury beads rolled into the cracks, corners, hard to reach places. And, gradually evaporating, it poisons everyone who is in the room and appeared in the infected area. We do not perceive anything, as the mercury does not smell. Couples will evaporate slowly, which can lead to chronic poisoning, especially if the living space is small.

The mercury content of the thermometer is 2 g. It is a lethal dose. It is the age and sex of the person, as well as the size of the space where leaked liquid metal. These factors affect the severity of poisoning. If three millimeters thick «bead» is not removed, it will evaporate 3 years.

The harm of mercury from a thermometer is the following: in the organism of mercury interacts with the element selenium. Selenium is part of enzyme that restores protein thioredoxin. This protein is important for many life processes, to fight against free radicals that damage cells. Mercury damages the enzyme, an important protein for the body no longer being produced.

In addition, the mercury vapor will have an effect on the nervous system, having a neurotoxic effect. This leads to serious consequences for the organism as a whole.

How does intoxication with mercury

Mercury accumulates in the body, it is not derived from it. It is linked to chronic poisoning. What symptoms there are?

  • Prolonged and severe headaches.
  • The taste of metal in my mouth.
  • Apathy, drowsiness and weakness.
  • Tremor (shaking) of the hands, a nervous TIC.
  • Irritation and frequent mood swings.
  • Sometimes there is diarrhea.

If toxic mercury accumulates in the body years, it is gradually deteriorating performance, memory, concentration of attention, arise mental illness. Sometimes loss of hair, loose teeth, some diseases become chronic. These symptoms occur a few years later.

The problem of a broken thermometer is particularly serious if the house has small children. They are particularly susceptible to poison, as the child’s body is unable to fully resist him. If the family of a young child, needed an electronic thermometer.

From a broken thermometer observed:

  • shortness of breath when breathing;
  • disruption of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • cyanotic hue of the face.

If these symptoms manifest themselves, call an ambulance. Usually gastric lavage is performed for removing the oxide of mercury, and removing the signs of intoxication. If urgent medical assistance is not forthcoming, then you can induce vomiting yourself. According to statistics, 65% of cases – it is easy poisoning.

How to protect your home

What should you do if crashed mercury thermometer? First of all not to panic. You can call enclsoure that will process ferric chloride, and then the apartment can’t go a week. Furniture and everything in the apartment will be harmed, because the formed connection is not laundered. But health is more important.

To die of mercury from a thermometer it is impossible, but you need to take a number of actions to avoid:

  1. Vapors rise into the air at +18 °C, so it is advisable to cool the room to at least +16 °C. this will Help the air conditioner or open window.
  2. The window must be open constantly to the house came the clean air.
  3. Animals and people leave housing.
  4. You should wear a respirator or tight handkerchief to mouth and nose were closed. On hand to wear rubber gloves, because mercury can penetrate the pores of the skin.

If the thermometer leaking mercury, you need an old Terry towel moistened in solution of potassium permanganate and a little squeeze. Carefully put it on the balls of mercury. Gradually roll the towel edges and brushed metal remains on the surface of the fabric.

If the droplets flowing into cracks or hard to reach places, then they can be removed with a rubber pear. A few times to check the place where crashed the thermometer. If you are not sure that you have removed all call MOE.

All the items that were used for processing must be Packed in tight containers. Can’t toss it in sewers or garbage cans, as the package may be torn. You need to contact the MOE, where will tell you how to do the right thing.

A few days at home you need to carry out General wet cleaning, and ventilate the apartment. After a week your home will be completely safe.

There are other methods of cleaning the liquid metal. On a sheet of paper gather the silvery drops using a syringe with a thick needle, adhesive tape or plaster. Small «balls» are well glued to the tape and the cracks pull the remains of mercury with a syringe. No need to use a broom or a vacuum cleaner. In vacuum, the mercury will remain the same and vymetaya a broom, you can «roll out» of droplets around the room.

When all the visible balls removed, an extra cleaning. To 1 liter of water add a little potassium permanganate, 1 tablespoon of salt and vinegar. The solution was stirred and washed them all hard to reach places, where could be the mercury in microscopic quantities. After 7-8 hours the floor is washed with water.

Life in a safe environment

Why expose yourself and your loved ones to unnecessary risk? Today we are surrounded by many harmful substances, which saturated the modern world. There are safe electronic thermometer that quickly and accurately show the body temperature.

Thermometer is similar to a flat stick with a fine tip and a display on the housing. He is testifying in a minute after contact with the body. It doesn’t crash, reliable and accurate. Work period: 2 to 5 years. So mercury thermometers have been exhausted and will soon disappear altogether.

Therefore, making a choice in a pharmacy, buying drugs or medical devices, read instructions, ask for their safety. And refrain from buying mercury thermometer. Take care of your health and the health of your loved ones and do not expose yourself to unnecessary risk.

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