Why are mercury thermometers dangerous?

Even though mercury thermometers are now forbidden for sale in many countries, many people still have them in their households and resign from getting rid of them. Even though there are potential risks of mercury poisoning related to thermometers containing this metal, many people prefer using exactly this type of thermometers to others. In this article, you will find answers to the questions why it is so and why mercury thermometers are dangerous.

Why do many people prefer mercury thermometers even though they are regarded as being dangerous?

There are several types of thermometers available on the market today. The ones resembling mercury thermometers are now filled with coloured alcohol. Others are electric devices of several types generally divided into the ones which require contact with the person for measuring temperature and the ones which can measure it without any contact.

The reason why many people are not willing to get rid of their mercury thermometers is actually the ease of their usage and accurate measures. Of course, electric thermometers will give one the results of measurement a way faster, however, they require frequent calibration. Unfortunately, you might not be aware of the fact your electric thermometer is not showing an actual temperature unless you are sure you have a high fever and it is showing you normal temperature. At the same time, contactless electric thermometers which are particularly convenient will actually show you different temperature in the different spots of your head. This might be rather confusing.

Finally, many people have noticed that mercury thermometers are also more accurate than the ones made with alcohol. That is why, some people do not switch to other thermometers until their mercury ones get broken. And this is exactly where the threat of such thermometers is.

Why is it dangerous to use a mercury thermometer?

Mercury thermometers themselves are not dangerous under the condition the mercury is inside a thermometer. Once it gets out when the device is broken, it can be come dangerous.

Mercury coming out of a thermometer can contaminate surroundings and get inside a human body. It is crucial to understand that in the majority of cases swallowing mercury is not thus dangerous as breathing it in. According to experts, healthy digestive system will not allow mercury to be absorbed inside the body, however, mercury easily evaporates which can let it get inside one’s lungs. In such a way, it can be poisonous.

Mercury easily get evaporated, however, it requires several weeks to make a person feel the symptoms of intoxication. At first, the symptoms are very similar to general weakness as well as some other health conditions as they are often a feeling of nausea, headache and loss of appetite. Only after a longer exposure to the mercury vapour, a person develops more serious symptoms which are the result of imbalance in the work of internal organs. In critical situations, it can lead to death.

As you can see, the major problem of using a mercury thermometer is the risk of it getting broken which will lead to mercury contamination. It is not easy to collect split mercury and it is also not obvious to many people what to do next since this mercury can be utilised exclusively by special services. Otherwise mercury can get into public places or natural sights where it can cause contamination as well.