Particle & Surface Sciences presents the Micromeritics Quickvac designed to quickly contain mercury spills in the laboratory.
Metallic mercury or mercury compounds are used in several products including batteries, semiconductors, electrical switches, thermometers, dental amalgams, barometers, paper, paints, preservatives, lighting, cosmetics, and explosives.
Health hazards from metallic mercury can be prevented or mitigated by limiting exposure to below the Threshold Limit Value (TLV) prescribed by industrial standards, which is typically achieved through proper ventilation and maintaining low temperatures in the work area. Wearing an appropriate breathing apparatus may be required in extreme cases.
Exposure of metallic mercury to the work environment can be prevented by sealing mercury storage containers or covering mercury surfaces with an oil-layer to prevent vapour from entering room air.
Key precautions for mercury handling and storage:
- Mercury must always be stored in thick glass bottles or stainless steel/ cast iron containers
- Mercury vapours are permeable through polyethylene or other plastic containers, which must be avoided
- Mercury should not be stored with acetylene, fulminic acid, or ammonia to avoid dangerous chemical reactions
- Spills must be promptly cleaned up and the mercury-contaminated articles disposed of properly
- Any contact of mercury with exposed skin must be avoided and respiratory exposure minimised during clean-up
- Mercury vapour detector can be used to confirm decontamination after clean-up
- Contamination of hands, mouth, clothing or food while working with metallic mercury must be avoided
- Clothing contaminated with mercury should be stored in vapour-proof containers pending removal for laundering
- Environmental levels of inorganic mercury can be monitored periodically to ensure TLV levels are not exceeded
Featuring a compact and lightweight design, the Micromeritics Quickvac is specifically useful in collecting elusive mercury droplets and small mercury-contaminated particulate matter. Ideal for laboratory applications, the Micromeritics Quickvac features a 250mL recovery vessel to collect the spilled mercury. A replaceable 0.3 – 0.5 micron activated carbon filter ensures that the device exhausts clean, safe air.