Is Mercury Toxic?

Wednesday 28th June 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

No comments, yet!

Mercury beads on a white background CONTENTS

Mercury is a very dangerous substance that could put your health at risk if it spills in your home. Lots of household goods contain mercury, like thermometers and barometers, and you must act quickly if they break.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer mercury spill clean up and disposal services. Our technicians are hazardous chemical clean up specialists that can handle any size and form of mercury spill. They are available nationwide and can be on site in several hours in emergency.

Keep reading to find out about mercury’s toxicity and what to do when it spills in your home.

What is mercury?

Mercury is a metallic element that is a neurotoxin. There are three different types of mercury: elemental, inorganic mercury compounds, and methylmercury.

Elemental or metallic mercury

This is a shiny, silver-white liquid at room temperature. When touched or dropped, it splits into small beads that can roll along surfaces and slip into small crevices. Elemental mercury evaporates into an invisible, odourless gas at room temperature which is very harmful to inhale.

Quicksilver, as it is also known, has historically been used in lots of household goods. However, many countries have phased out the use of mercury in such products due to the dangers associated with spills.

Methylmercury

It is formed when bacteria reacts with mercury in soil, water, and plants. It can be found in fish, shellfish, and some animals. Eating fish and meat that contains it can lead to mercury poisoning.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning including a loss of peripheral vision, impairment of speech and hearing, and muscular weakness. Pregnant women that consume it can put their unborn baby’s brain and nervous system at risk.

How much mercury is toxic?

Exposure to even small amounts of mercury can cause serious health problems. Blood mercury levels above 100 ng/mL are considered a sign of mercury poisoning.

The health effects of mercury exposure

As mercury vapour is invisible and odourless, you can easily inhale it without knowing it following a spill. Exposure to mercury can cause a range of health problems including:

  • Emotional changes, like mood swings and nervousness
  • Neuromuscular changes, such as weakness and twitching
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in sensations and nerve responses
  • Headaches
  • A cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing
  • Eye, skin, and stomach irritation

High levels of mercury and long term exposure can have more severe effects such as kidney damage and respiratory failure, and may even prove fatal. You can find out more about the dangers of mercury exposure here.

How to clean up a mercury spill

Evacuate the area the mercury spilled in. Don’t let anyone walk through the spill as their shoes may get contaminated and could spread it around the property. Remove all pets from the area so they can’t tread in it, either.

Ventilate the room by opening windows to prevent the build up of mercury vapour. Close all doors and windows that lead to the rest of your home so the vapours don’t spread elsewhere. Make sure the heating is turned off to minimise the amount of vapour produced, too.

Next, contact specialist cleaners to clean up and dispose of the mercury. They can remove all traces of the mercury quickly and give you peace of mind that your home is safe, again. You can find out more about what to do when mercury spills in this blog.

Why you must bring in specialist cleaners to clear up the spill

Cleaning up mercury is very hazardous without the right equipment, training, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Firstly, cleaning up mercury is very dangerous as you will come in close contact with the chemical and are more likely to touch, ingest, or inhale it.

You may also not clean it up correctly. Every trace of the mercury needs to be cleaned up, including small beads, or your health could be at risk.

There is a chance you could make the situation worse, too. Using a vacuum cleaner to hoover the mercury, for example, can heat it up and encourage it to evaporate. Or, sweeping it up with a broom may spread it across a wider area.

Some spills are particularly challenging to clean up. Should mercury spill on carpet, for example, it can sink into it and be very hard to remove. The affected area must be cut out and disposed of.

Contact us today

Our fully trained specialist technicians can quickly decontaminate the area and dispose of the hazardous waste. They have been accredited by several organisations including SafeContractor, BICSc, and Dewpoint Professional, so you can trust them to restore your property to a safe home.

Get in touch with our team on 0208 066 0360 or send them an email at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to find out more about our mercury clean up services.

Comment
Reilly Peters

Reilly Peters

Business Development Manager

Add to contacts

Speak with me today,
I’m here to help

By asking you a few questions either via phone or email I can immediately provide a realistic estimation of the cost.

You’re in good company. We’ve cleaned for the following commercial clients… View all

Customer reviews

Our happy customers have rated our service as
4.9 on Google.

View All Reviews

Sue Sullivan

Star Star Star Star Star

5 months ago

Ice did a brilliant job and I would highly recommend them. Reilly in the office booked everything in and was most helpful, and then Harry came and…

Read more

Posted on Google

John Hatswell

Star Star Star Star Star

6 months ago

We had a pressing need to address concerns regarding a clean up of a Trauma site. Ice Services and Zoe were responsive, informative and professional.…

Read more

Posted on Google

Eddie Mack

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

I’ve used ICE Cleaning a few times and the service has been absolutely terrific. Paul Gimenez was incredibly helpful and dealt with everything…

Read more

Posted on Google

Martha Sparkes

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

Power cleaned my external brick walls and look very good. They were punctual, hard working and respectful. I would recommend them with no hesitation.

Read more

Posted on Google

Simon Nicholson

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

Booked ICE Cleaning at short notice to help with the clean-up of our outdoor Event Site in Central London. Whilst they were unable to assist with our…

Read more

Posted on Google

Kim Barnes

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

From start to finish, booking in with Jess in the office to Mark and Lee turning up for app 5-star service from start to finish..Quick turnaround…

Read more

Posted on Google

Mark Treasure

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

We recently used ICE Cleaning to assist with the cleaning of communal areas and flats following a fire in a service riser. I initially spoke with…

Read more

Posted on Google

Martin Haw

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very prompt, polite and professional service

Read more

Posted on Google

George C

Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very professional and the sales team are very helpful and easy to deal with. The job was carried out quickly and professionally and the site team…

Read more

Posted on Google

Derik Matheus

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

ICE Cleaning is a great company to work with! They have been cleaning our office for two years, and we are thrilled to have them as part of our team.

Read more

Posted on Google

Dannil Sourez

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

ICE Cleaning Solutions is a serious and responsible company that takes pride in their work.

Read more

Posted on Google

Sam Hart

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very impressed with ICE cleaning, really efficient and had good service. Dealt with my mould issue in my gym really well and couldn’t be…

Read more

Posted on Google

Luke Stockwell

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

We used ICE Cleaning at BT Sport for a Cage Warriors event in our studios. In previous years this event had caused multiple problems due to the risk…

Read more

Posted on Google

Danielle Baycanli

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

ICE cleaning cleaned the floors and carpets of our school to a very high standard. The team was friendly and efficient and we were very happy with…

Read more

Posted on Google

Emma Bryan

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

ICE cleaning completed a commercial clean for us. They were very professional, prompt, responsive and they event went back the next day to finish…

Read more

Posted on Google

Stuart Goodson

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

Zoe as the first point of contact was extremely helpful and efficient. The decontamination of toxic mercury from my mother’s garage was…

Read more

Posted on Google

Nick Barringer

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

I was dealt with very professionally from first contact through to completion. The people are pleasant and knowledgeable, the work was carried out…

Read more

Posted on Google

Jason Etherington

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

Fantastic service, the technician was very understanding and talked us through the process and was happy to answer any questions. Work was completed…

Read more

Posted on Google

Alison Bailey

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

On calling ICE following a spillage, I first came into contact with Zoe. At all times Zoe was courteous, calm and professional. I asked her to call…

Read more

Posted on Google

Elisabeth Underdown

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

We came back from holiday to see a massive mould problem in 2 of our rooms. We checked around but found this company to be best priced, most…

Read more

Posted on Google
Why choose us

Why choose us?

  • Cater to a wide variety of cleaning situations
  • Nationwide coverage, available 24/7
  • Cater to commercial and domestic clients
  • Free survey provided prior to quotation 
  • Emergency response team
  • Offer a bespoke service designed to suit all your needs 
  • All technicians hold professional health and safety qualifications, including BICSc, IOSH, Dewpoint Professional & Safe Contractor 

We’re fully accredited

We place best practise, professional expertise and health and safety at the core of our business. We’re fully compliant with all legal obligations. You can view a list of our accreditations below, or visit our Health & Safety page for more information.

CSCS
BICSc
IOSH
SafeContractor
Dewpoint® Professional Corporate Membership
IPAF
NACSC
0208 066 0360Open 24/7
Close

We use cookies

If you continue without changing your settings we'll assume you're happy to receive our cookies.
If you'd like to change this just update your browser settings. Find out more.

Okay. I got it.