Can a broken thermometer or light bulb cause mercury poisoning?


Some thermometers and light bulbs contain very small amounts of mercury. If you break one, it’s unlikely to cause any health problems. However, you should avoid contact with the mercury and take extra care when cleaning it up.

The amount of mercury in a thermometer is very small, usually up to 3g.Mercury thermometers are being phased out. You can use several other types of thermometer to take someone’s temperature, such as digital thermometers, thermometer strips and ear thermometers.

If you break a mercury thermometer or light bulb, a small amount of liquid mercury may spill out. Liquid mercury can separate into small beads, which can roll some distance away. The mercury may also evaporate into vapour.

However, this small amount of mercury is extremely unlikely to cause problems for your health.


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