Calvert County Health Department

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Mercury Spills

What should I do if I have a mercury spill?
When liquid mercury is spilled, it forms droplets that can accumulate in the tiniest of spaces and then emit vapors into the air. Mercury vapor is odorless, colorless, and very toxic. Most mercury exposures occur by breathing vapors, by direct skin contact or by eating food or drinking water contaminated with mercury.

Health problems caused by mercury depend on how much has entered your body, how it entered your body, how long you have been exposed to it, and how your body responds to the mercury. All mercury spills, regardless of quantity, should be taken seriously.

What is the safe way to dispose of a mercury thermometer?
Replacing mercury-containing glass thermometers is one way to reduce your family’s potential exposure to mercury. If mercury enters municipal landfills and wastewater treatment plants it can become a “waste stream” contaminant. It is important to recycle household mercury (such as glass mercury thermometers) at a mercury reclamation center.

Calvert County residents can recycle their mercury thermometers at:

Calvert County Solid Waste Treatment Facility
Appeal Landfill
Sweet Water Road
Lusby, MD 20657


To transport the thermometer, put it in a small plastic soda bottle or keep it in its original container.

Permitted Solid Waste Acceptance Facilities Contact List

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