What NEVER to Do When Cleaning Up a Mercury Spill
- Never use a vacuum cleaner or broom to clean up the spill. A vacuum cleaner or broom will break the mercury into smaller drops and spread it around more. Tiny mercury droplets will settle throughout the area, increasing the spread of the mercury in the room. The droplets will evaporate faster and increase your chance of breathing high levels of mercury vapor. They will be harder to clean up.
- Never pour mercury down a drain. The mercury can become lodged in the “p” traps and may continue to vaporize into the room. Mercury can also pollute septic tanks or wastewater-treatment plants.
- Never allow people who are wearing mercurycontaminated shoes or clothing to walk around the house. This will help limit the spread of spilled mercury.
- Never use a washing machine to launder clothing or other items that may have come in contact with mercury. Mercury can contaminate the washer and/or pollute sewage. Throw all clothing that came in contact with liquid mercury in the trash. If mercury is visible on the clothing take it to your local household hazardous waste collection site for disposal. Wash clothing or other items that were exposed to mercury vapor during the cleanup, but did not get mercury directly on them.