OT A tale of two webpages, both from Baltimore City
City school staff, students isolated after thermometer break
More than a dozen held on concerns of mercury exposure
Associated Press 9:47 p.m. EDT, May 28, 2010
A Baltimore fire department spokesman says more than a dozen people at
a Baltimore school have been isolated after broken thermometers
prompted concerns about the mercury inside.
Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the fire department, said between 12
and 20 students and staff were isolated Friday at Rodman Elementary
School in West Baltimore.
Cartwright says there were no signs of significant injuries. The
students and staff were to be showered in a decontamination trailer.
Cartwright says students were playing with thermometers, which broke
and released mercury.
Univerity of Maryland Medical Center, Hospital for Children
Parent Education - Caring for Kids
Mercury Myths And Realities
If a mercury thermometer breaks what should you do? Could your health
be at risk? These are two of the most common questions asked of the
experts at the Maryland Poison Center at the University of Maryland
School of Pharmacy. Below you'll find the answers and more facts about
* Mercury is a shiny, odorless, poisonous metal that is a liquid
at room temperature.
There are three types of mercury: elemental, organic and
* Elemental mercury is found in thermometers, barometers,
blood-pressure devices, fluorescent lights, batteries and is used in
In 2000, 4,186 cases of mercury exposure were reported in the
* Most mercury poisoning occurs from breathing contaminated air or
from ingesting contaminated water or food.
Long-term exposure to a large amount of mercury could cause
* Short-term exposure to a small amount of mercury is not likely
to cause health problems.
The amount of mercury in an oral/rectal thermometer is not
enough to be toxic. If a child were to ingest mercury from a
thermometer, it should not cause any health problems.
So you can even eat the stuff. Admittedly there was more than one
thermometer in the first story, but I doubt if they did more than
barely touch it. I used to play with liquid mercury when I was 7 to
12 years old, and I'm yako.
* The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents use a
digital thermometer as opposed to a mercury thermometer when taking a
Place a mercury thermometer in a sealable plastic bag when
throwing it away.
* To clean up a broken thermometer, use two sheets of paper to
pick up the beads of mercury. Then place them in a plastic bag before
disposing of the material.
Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury.
* For a larger mercury spill, contact the Maryland Department of
the Environment 24 hours a day at 410-974-3551.
For questions and poison emergencies, call the Maryland Poison
Center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-222-1222.