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Kelly Johnson-Arbor 1 Article
Effective Decontamination and Remediation After Elemental Mercury Exposure: A Case Report in the United States
Kelly Johnson-Arbor, Brian Schultz
J Prev Med Public Health. 2021;54(5):376-379.   Published online August 26, 2021
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Elemental mercury exposure can result in significant toxicity. Source decontamination and remediation are often required after larger elemental mercury exposures, but the details of these processes are infrequently reported. In the case described herein, a 64-year-old woman and her husband were exposed to elemental mercury in their home after the husband purchased it online for the purpose of recreational barometer calibration. After the mercury reportedly spilled during the calibration process, a vacuum cleaner was used to decontaminate the affected surface; this led to extensive mercury contamination of the home. The couple was relocated from the home while remediation occurred over the course of several weeks. Vacuum cleaning of an elemental mercury spill can lead to extensive volatilization and recirculation of mercury vapor. For smaller mercury spills, careful removal of visible mercury beads by using an eyedropper, cardboard, and masking tape is recommended. Larger spills require professional decontamination and remediation and may necessitate involvement of governmental resources. Vacuum cleaning should not be used as an initial method of decontamination after elemental mercury exposure. Careful attention to source decontamination can reduce the emotional and financial costs associated with extensive remediation after elemental mercury exposure.


Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Environmental fate of aquatic pollutants and their mitigation by phycoremediation for the clean and sustainable environment: A review
    S. Thanigaivel, Saranya Vinayagam, Lalitha Gnanasekaran, R. Suresh, Matias Soto-Moscoso, Wei-Hsin Chen
    Environmental Research.2024; 240: 117460.     CrossRef

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health