|Used Mercury Thermometer
Exchange Set for Nov 11th
| October 26, 2006 -
Knoxville and Knox County residents will be able to take advantage
of a mercury thermometer exchange on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Earth Fare,
located at 10903 Parkside Drive in the Shops at Turkey Creek.
The exchange will take place from noon until 4 p.m.
The City of Knoxville Solid Waste Section, the Knox County Health
Department, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation,
the Safe Kids Coalition of the Greater Knox Area and Earth Fare are
sponsoring the event.
It offers citizens an opportunity to exchange and replace used mercury
thermometers with battery-operated digital thermometers, which are
being provided by the city and other sponsoring agencies at no cost.
Residents may bring in as many used thermometers as they wish but,
because of limited supplies, they can only receive one digital thermometer
To safely transport the thermometers please place them in their storage
cases or, if those aren't available, place them in a plastic soda
bottle with a screw-cap lid.
Mercury can present numerous health hazards.
If a thermometer is broken, and not properly cleaned up, tiny droplets
of mercury evaporate over time. When mercury vapor is inhaled it enters
the bloodstream and can cause damage to the brain, spinal cord, kidneys
and liver. It can be particularly harmful to children and the unborn.
Swallowing or touching mercury is not as toxic as inhaling it. It's
not harmful if a broken thermometer is cleaned up properly and properly.
Mercury is also harmful to the environment and can contaminate lakes
and streams as well as accumulating in the bodies of fish and wildlife.
It was used for many years in thermometers designed for household
use because no alternatives were available.
However this is no longer the case and in July of 2001, the American
Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement urging doctors and
patients to stop using mercury thermometers and to properly dispose
Parents are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to safely
dispose of a household hazard and replace it with a safe substitute
The exchange is limited to household mercury thermometers.
Other types of mercury containing waste such as old non-digital thermostats,
barometers, manometers and other devices should be brought to the
Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center at 1033 Elm Street.
The center is for use only by Knoxville and Knox County residents
and will not accept material from businesses or residents from outside
Additional information about the household hazardous waste center
is available at 215-6700.
Please do not bring in outdoor thermometers containing red liquid.
They don't contain mercury, which is silver-colored, and can be placed
in the household trash.
In the event a mercury thermometer breaks the public is reminded that
they should never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the material. That
can introduce droplets of mercury into the air and contaminate the
vacuum cleaner as well.
A fact sheet describing the proper way to clean up a broken thermometer
is available at http://www2.state.tn.us/health/FactSheets/mercury.htm.
PRESS RELEASE INDEX