February 19, 2007 - The City of Knoxville
Public Service Division is pleased to join with Earth Fare and, the
Tennessee Valley Earth Partnership, to conduct a mercury thermometer
exchange for City of Knoxville and Knox County residents at the Earth
Fare store at Turkey Creek, to be held on Saturday, March 3, 2007.
The exchange will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM, or until the supply
of thermometers is exhausted. This was a very successful event held
last year with all thermometers exchanged before the end of the event
MERCURY THERMOMETER EXCHANGE
March 3, 2007
11 AM to 3 PM
Earth Fare Store at Turkey Creek
City of Knoxville Public Service Division, Earth Fare, and
The Tennessee Valley Earth Partnership
thermometers are both an environmental and a health and safety problem.
Broken thermometers are a potential source on injury from the broken
glass, as well as a chemical hazard from the mercury in the thermometer.
This event will offer an opportunity for citizens to replace used
mercury thermometers with battery-operated digital thermometers,
provided by the sponsoring organizations. The digital thermometers
will be available to the public at no cost, in exchange for used
mercury thermometers. Residents may bring in as many used thermometers
to exchange as they wish from family, friends or neighbors.
Please do not bring outdoor thermometers with red liquid. They
do not contain mercury, which is silver-colored. Thermometers with
red liquid (colored alcohol) can be placed in your household trash.
For safety while transporting the thermometers, please bring them
in their storage cases. If the case is not available or the thermometer
is broken, the thermometer can be brought in a 12-ounce plastic
water bottle with a screw-cap lid.
This exchange is limited to mercury thermometers from households;
other type of mercury-containing waste such as old non-digital thermostats,
barometers, manometers and other household mercury waste or devices
should be brought to the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center,
where it will be accepted for disposal during business hours. The
Household Hazardous Waste Center is free to residents of Knox County
and City of Knoxville residents only and is located at 1033 Elm
Street. The Center does not accept material from businesses, or
residents from out side Knox County. Additional information about
the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center is available at 865-215-6700
Mercury has many toxic effects in the body. If a thermometer is
broken and not properly cleaned up, tiny droplets of mercury can
evaporate over time. When mercury vapor is inhaled, it enters the
blood and can damage the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver.
Children and fetuses are at special risk. Swallowing or touching
mercury metal is not nearly as toxic; thus if a broken thermometer
is cleaned up properly and promptly people will not be harmed.
In the environment, mercury falls with rain and snow, contaminating
lakes and streams and accumulating in the bodies of fish and wildlife.
Natural processes can convert mercury into methylmercury, an even
more dangerous form of the metal.
Mercury was used for many years in thermometers designed for household
use because no alternatives were available. However, this is no
longer the case today. In July 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics
issued a policy statement about the health effects of mercury, and
urged doctors and parents to stop using mercury thermometers and
to dispose of them properly.
Parents are especially encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity
to safely dispose of a household hazard and replace it with a safe
substitute for free. Small children can easily break thermometers
and they find the shiny drops of mercury fascinating.
In the event a mercury thermometer breaks, the public is reminded
that they should NEVER use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the mercury.
It can make tiny droplets in the air, increasing the problem and
contaminating the vacuum cleaner as well. The state of Tennessee
has a fact sheet describing proper cleanup procedures for broken
thermometers at: http://www2.state.tn.us/health/FactSheets/mercury.htm