Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Alert. While rummaging through old stocks at home, I accidentally dropped a mercurial thermometer releasing the beautiful element into the floor. Panic. Instinct told me to gather the quicksilver with a plastic pan and dispose of it in the trash bin. That alas was the wrong way to deal with the situation.

Using paper or a dropper, I should have collected the spilled mercury and kept it in a sealed bottle and then disposed of it through some hazardous waste system somewhere. With what I did, the mercury had split in very tiny droplets and released toxic gas to which myself and others inside the house would have been exposed. At that point, there wasn't a way of rolling back time and the process. I have been caught with ignorance and subjected all of us to much health risks.

Suddenly I remembered this news story about a school whose freshman high students played around with a beaker filled with the chemical during a science class. As a result, around 80 students were exposed and some of them had to be hospitalized due to symptoms of contamination. The school had been shut down as the toxicity level within had gone beyond tolerable levels. The school would have eventually resumed operations months later after having been certified clean.

Apparently, exposure can to lead to toxic proportions and may affect primarily the nervous system. As in the case of one student from this school, I learned that the poor kid who is now in college has been suffering from chronic fever and tremors thereby affecting his entire life.

To deal with and settle the issue, I would have to submit myself and others at home to some test that will determine the mercury content in our bloodstream. It is yet unclear at this point how we could determine the toxicity level, if any, inside our house.

May all of you be aware and safe.

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