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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
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 per family.

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 of them.

Parents are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to safely dispose of a household hazard and replace it with a safe substitute for free.

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 the county.

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.
For Immediate Release
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