Photo: Andres Rueda (flickr)
Mercury thermometers were once a common object in medicine cabinets. However, scientists want to completely ban the thermometers because the mercury inside them is highly poisonous.
Mercury poisoning can lead to memory loss, mood swings, insomnia, and even organ failure.
Creating A Ban
Mercury thermometers are nearly impossible to buy in the store but scientists want to ban industrial users as well.
Mercury can get into the environment in two days: if it is released from a broken thermometer or during the burning of coal at power plants. In fact, half of all mercury emissions happen at coal-burning power plants.
Many of these plants let mercury get into the air. This mercury settles in streams and rivers leading to polluted water.
How To Recycle
The good news is that mercury can be easily recycled. To learn how and where to dispose of your old mercury thermometer check out the Mercury Releases and Spills page (EPA).
- Mercury Thermometers Face Final Phase Out (U.S. News & World Report)