Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Are You Being Exposed to Mercury Vapor?

We have all heard about the potential health and safety risks of mercury vapor, but do we know exactly where this mercury vapor is coming from?

Today, mercury continues to be used in many products, primarily in fluorescent lamps and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in offices, stores and homes. Because of its high density, it is also used in barometers and manometers. Due to its high rate of thermal expansion—which remains fairly constant over a wide temperature range—mercury is also used extensively in thermometers and thermostats. Mercury-vapor lamps, which emit light rich in ultraviolet radiation, are used for street lighting, in water treatment plants as a disinfectant, and in tanning beds. Mercury is used as an electrode in the production of chlorine and sodium hydroxide and in certain electric batteries. Mercury is important as an electrical contact for switches, and mercury conducts the charge in fluorescent lamps.

Exposure typically comes from inhaling mercury vapors. For most of us, fluorescent lamps present the single greatest risk of mercury exposure in the work place, as these lamps can easily break. Upon breaking, there is an even greater risk in transporting fluorescent lamps and CFLs, as there are no packaging standards and few regulations in place requiring proper packaging for storage and transportation. To protect against mercury vapor exposure from used fluorescent lamps and other mercury-containing devices, these products should be stored and transported in a packaging configuration proven to contain mercury vapor.

Brad Buscher
Chairman and CEO
VaporLok Products LLC

No comments:

Post a Comment