Clean-Up Instructions for
Broken Mercury Thermometers
- Assemble the necessary cleanup supplies:
- eye dropper
- paper towel
- plastic container with lid
- plastic bags with zipper seal
- plastic dust pan
- nitrile gloves
- wide mouth container
- Remove jewelry and watches, as mercury will bond with the metal. Put on nitrile gloves.
- Use a flashlight to locate the mercury.
- Do not touch the mercury.
- Different surfaces require different clean up procedures:
1. Use stiff paper (cardboard or playing card-type paper) to push mercury beads together. Use eyedropper to suction mercury beads. Or, working over a tray to catch any spill, lift the beads of mercury with the stiff cardboard paper.
- Carefully place the mercury in a wide mouth container. Pick up any remaining beads of mercury with sticky tape.
- Place contaminated tape in a plastic bag along with the eyedropper, stiff paper and gloves. Place this bag and sealed container in the second bag.
The mercury-contaminated section should be cut out and placed in a plastic bag with all the cleanup items.
Remove as much water without disturbing the mercury and recover the mercury with an eyedropper. Place in a wide container and seal with tape.
Mercury will get caught in the sink trap. Working over a tray, remove the trap and pour the contents into large mouth container.
After any clean up procedure, label all waste with a Stanford University Hazardous Waste Tag and submit an online pick-up request to EH&S.