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mercury on plastic and wood

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by ruth, Aug 4, 2017.

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  1. ruth

    ruth

    3
    0
    Aug 4, 2017
    Hi and thanks for being here.

    We broke a long tube fluorescent light on kitchen floor right beside shelves with dishes, and glass and dust spread widely. I thought I'd deal with shelves and dishes later and clean up walls and floors, etc., I ignorantly carried the shelves and dishes outside til I could deal with them. They ended up sitting in the hot sun for many hours.

    Would the mercury dust bind to plastic dishes because of the sun? Were we exposed to dangerous vapors since we had the windows closed during the heat of the day? Should I throw away wooden utensils and cutting boards? The bottom of one table also is unfinished wood. Will the normal glazed dishes be safe after being washed?

    And do you have an opinion about washing clothes with some dust on them in the washing machine using cool water and several washes/rinses?

    Thanks so much for any help!
     
  2. Irv

    Irv

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    30
    Jun 7, 2017
    There's no harm in washing stuff a few times. I would throw away the cutting board (unless it's an heirloom) just out of general principles. However, I think there's a bit of hysteria involved when it comes to mercury. Most of us have it in our mouths 24/7. And when we were kids, we played with handfuls of liquid mercury - lots of fun. I'm sure it affected my brain; if it weren't for all that mercury exposure, my IQ might be higher than the current 150 :)
     
    davenn and Tha fios agaibh like this.
  3. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,808
    511
    Jan 15, 2010
    I ain't the EPA, but you seem very concerned.
    Don't be.
    Clean what was contaminated well and be careful next time.
    (The dust is a phosphor coating the inside of the glass for luminance. There is only an
    extremely small amount of mercury involved).
     
  4. ruth

    ruth

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    Aug 4, 2017
    Thanks for your reassuring reply, Irv! I'm not happy with my IQ... now I know it was the thermometer mercury I played with once as a kid. :)
     
  5. ruth

    ruth

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    Aug 4, 2017
    Thanks, shrtnd. I am feeling so much better about this incident!
     
  6. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,808
    511
    Jan 15, 2010
    Ruth,
    If you're still there, I should have mentioned that some hardware stores, and Home Depot and Lowe's sell a flexible clear plastic sleeve that fits over both sizes of those long fluorescent lights made specifically to prevent what happened to you. The sleeves cost less than $2 each. They slide over the bulb length (get the correct size ones) for the full length of the metal end-caps of the bulbs. If the bulb is struck and breaks, all of the broken material, the broken glass, phosphor material and mercury stays inside the plastic sleeve so you don't get the mess you experienced. You just remove the plastic sleeve with the broken debris as a contained unit and discard it. No muss, no fuss.
     
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