Are you handling mercury at your facility? Here is the 101 on Mercury Disposal
Mercury, a heavy silvery-white metal, maintains a liquid form at ordinary temperatures. While this chemical is used in many medical devices, equipment, and consumer products, exposure to it can be very harmful. Mercury can have ill effects on the central nervous system and exposure can even lead to death.
While there is less and less use of mercury today, many facilities – like at doctor and dental facilities, laboratories, and even offices – are at risk of coming in contact with the chemical and as such, must practice safe handling and removal processes when the chemical is present.
If you’re handling mercury at your facility, here’s everything you need to know about its disposal process.
According to the EPA, it’s important that anything containing mercury is protected from shattering or giving off a sudden shock. To do so, it recommends that any products containing mercury be stored in a large container with a tight lid and that an oil absorbing filler (like kitty litter) is placed around it for ultimate protection.
Storage containers with mercury filled item inside should be labeled clearly and have the least movement possible while being transported. Limit any extreme drops, shifting or sliding so the item does not mistakenly break.
Check with local government to see if there is a hazardous waste collection time setup for bringing these types of items for safe disposal. Also be sure to ask if there are any regulations or bans on disposal of mercury in your area as many states have restrictions in place.
Understanding what’s categorized as universal waste versus what’s hazardous waste when it comes to mercury-containing products is critical for proper destruction. To reduce risks, work with a certified, professional waste disposal company to ensure the dangerous items are safely removed and recycled.
Want to learn more? Follow Red Bags’ blog to be up to date on the latest happenings in the medical waste industry.
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