Mercury CleanUp

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Department of University Safety & Assurances Mercury Spill CleanupProcedures : 

Department of University Safety & Assurances Mercury Spill CleanupProcedures

Mercury is a Hazardous Material : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Mercury is a Hazardous Material Mercury (Hg) is a hazardous material as defined by: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources U.S. Dept. of Transportation

Mercury is a Toxic Substance : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Mercury poisoning can result in severe health problems affecting the nervous system and other organs. Tremors Changes in vision or hearing Insomnia Weakness Difficulty with memory Headaches Irritability Shyness and nervousness Acrodynia (painful extremities), a condition caused by chronic exposure to mercury Mercury is a Toxic Substance

Mercury Exposure & Prevention : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Mercury Exposure & Prevention Routes of exposure Inhalation Main hazard Evaporates releasing hazardous vapors Skin absorption Personal Protective Equipment Required Nitrile gloves Safety glasses Closed-toed shoes Lab coat

Who do you Contact? : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Questions regarding mercury or spill procedures should directed to: Professor Laboratory supervisor Own supervisor UWM Department of Safety & Assurances at x6339 Note: Any release greater than one pound (two tablespoons) to the environment is a Reportable Quantity. Who do you Contact?

Spills : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Spills Prevention is the best way to handle mercury spills. All mercury "spills," including droplets of mercury from a broken lab thermometer, must be cleaned up following safe and environmentally sound procedures.

Contain Spill : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Prevent the spread of mercury. Trays should be used under equipment wherever a mercury spill is possible. Mercury beads can splash and roll around. Prevent mercury from entering cracks, crevices, and drains. Do not walk in area of spill. Evacuate room via route away from spill. Contain Spill

Restricted Area : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Cease activities. Secure the area around the spill, so the mercury does not get "tracked" or "kicked" around. Keep the area restricted until the entire spill is cleaned up. Lower room temperature to reduce evaporation. Restricted Area

Temporary Control : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Spill powder may be used as a temporary control measure. Commercial spill kits. Mix 85 grams of finely powdered Sodium Thiosulfate with 15 grams of finely powdered EDTA. Temporary Control

Temporary Control : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Temporary Control Cover from the perimeter of the spill toward the center. Do not walk through the spill or spill powder. Pick-up glass and other large debris, then clean up mercury. All debris must be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Mercury Vacuum : 

US&A (v. 2/07) A special vacuum cleaner, which is designed to pick up mercury droplets safely, is available for cleanup. NEVER use a regular vacuum. Mercury Vacuum

Location of Mercury Vacuum : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Chemistry Department: Second floor stockroom. Contact the stockroom personnel when needed. Other departments: Contact University Safety & Assurances (x6339) for assistance with spill clean-up. Location of Mercury Vacuum

Use of Mercury Vacuum : 

US&A (v. 2/07) The stockroom personnel will clean up the spill. You may be trained in the proper use of the mercury vacuum. UWM Department of Safety & Assurances staff may also be called for assistance. Use of Mercury Vacuum

Other Cleanup Tools : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Other Cleanup Tools A side-arm flask connected to a vacuum pump or sink aspirator can be used to vacuum up small beads.

Other Cleanup Tools : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Other Cleanup Tools Wet toweling to consolidate small beads into larger pieces for vacuuming Commercial spill kits Disposable eyedropper Adhesive tape Cardboard

Special Care : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Special attention must be given to cleaning cracks and crevices where the mercury beads may have easily settled. Special Care

Mercury Waste : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Includes the mercury and all waste materials contaminated with mercury. Gloves and other contaminated debris. Must be placed in a labeled leak-proof, polyethylene container. Mercury Waste

Disposal : 

US&A (v. 2/07) No mercury, including broken thermometers, may be disposed of in the normal trash or into the sewer system. UWM Hazardous Waste Manager (x4999) will properly dispose of all waste. Disposal

Assistance After Hours : 

US&A (v. 2/07) After Hours: If no help is available, contact the University Police. 9-911 in an emergency (229-9911 by cell phone) x4627 if non-emergency. Explain that you have a mercury spill. Indicate whether the spill is small, a broken thermometer, or large, more than 1 or 2 ml (1/4 teaspoon). Assistance After Hours

Assistance After Hours : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Assistance After Hours The police will contact a University Safety & Assurances staff member for assistance. If the spill is large or if it must be cleaned up right away, you will be directed to: Secure the area. Wait until response personnel arrive (usually 30 to 60 minutes). The area will be secured/off-limits until the next working day.

Special Consideration : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Special Consideration Large spills, spills in confined areas with poor ventilation, or spills in areas heated above room temperature must be addressed by trained personnel with protective equipment. A risk of high exposure to mercury vapors can occur in these situations.

Summary : 

US&A (v. 2/07) Mercury spills are very disruptive. Lab personnel are encouraged to use extreme caution when using mercury or mercury-containing apparatus. Thorough decontamination is essential to ensure both personal safety and protection of the environment. Summary

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