Science Gateway > Protocols > Cell Biology Protocols - Table of Contents

Pubplus.org - a PubMed search engine
Star Republic: Guide for Biologists

Cleaning of mercury spills

Edited by Chang Zhu
If you have a large mercury spill, call professionals for help. The following instructions are for small spills such as a broken thermometer.

1. Don't touch the mercury without gloves. Don't vacuum or sweep the spilled mercury.

2. Cleanup with a Mercury Spill Kit if available.

3. On a hard surface, push the beads of mercury together with a piece of paper. Pick it up with paper, plastid pipette, or a sticky tape. On carpet, cut out the contaminated area. In a sink, remove the sink trap and pour the contents into a plastic container.

4. Check for small droplets with a flash light

5. Sprinkle sulfur powder on the spill area after cleaning up beads of mercury; a color change from yellow to brown indicates that mercury is still present.

6. To amalgamate any small amounts of mercury sprinkle zinc flakes or cooper flakes (available at hardware store).

7. Keep all waste including materials used for cleanup in a closed bag or container. Call for waste disposal.

8. Wash your hands.