Donít Mess With
Why is mercury a problem?
seeps into lakes and waterways, it undergoes a natural chemical
process and is converted to a more deadly form - methyl mercury.
Local water ways are susceptible to contamination by mercury-an
element used in many household items, which is also a potent human
nerve toxin. When disposed of improperly, it contaminates the food
chain by building up in the tissue of fish and animals including
those we eat. Because of toxic chemicals sometimes found in fish,
the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment issues a Fish
Consumption Advisory for fish consumed out of the San Francisco Bay
and Delta. Humans are at risk when they consume fish and wildlife
from areas impacted by mercury or when they breathe vapors from
is elemental mercury?
Elemental, or metallic, mercury is the
shiny, silver-gray metal found in thermometers, barometers,
thermostats and other electrical switches. Mercury can break
into droplets when spilled, spread easily, and can build up in tiny
cracks and spaces wherever it is spilled.
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Mercury in Homes
Mercury in the
- Mercury is also known as quicksilver
because of its silvery color and reflective metallic nature.
- Elemental mercury is a liquid at room
- It is the "invisible" vapors of mercury
that are the true hazard.
- Just playing with mercury one time can
contaminate the body, clothes, and property to the point they
cannot be decontaminated.
- One drop of mercury can impair an
- High levels of mercury poisoning in
children can affect their health forever.
- A teaspoon of mercury if not cleaned up
properly can contaminate a house so that it is no longer
- Vacuuming or sweeping a mercury spill
can create approximately 10 times more hazardous mercury vapors
than cleaning it properly.
- Once mercury hits the ground it breaks
up into microscopic beads that you may not even see.
PO Box 1810 / 1810 East Hazelton Avenue, Stockton, California 95201 | Phone (209) 468 - 3055
The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program is a Program of the
San Joaquin County
Public Works Department