A Moment of Science

Scientists Push To Ban Mercury Thermometers

Time to clean out your medicine cabinet! Mercury thermometers are highly poisonous!

mercury thermometer

Photo: Andres Rueda (flickr)

Make sure to carefully and properly dispose of your mercury thermometer.

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).

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Margaret Aprison

Margaret is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Telecommunications and a minor in Psychology. The daughter of two scientists, Margaret has been surrounded by the subject her entire life. She enjoys social media, writing, television, and, of course, science!

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