April 21, 2007
11 AM to 7 PM
at World's Fair Park
Sponsored by: City of Knoxville Public Service Division Solid
Waste Section, Knox County Health Department / TN Department
of Environment and Conservation SAFE KIDS Coalition of the Greater
Knox Area, The Tennessee Valley Earth Partnership
April 16, 2007 - Exhange your old mercury
thermometer for a battery operated digital thermometer at EarthFest
on April 21 at the World's Fair Park from 11 am to 7 pm.
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 while supplies last.
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.
DISPOSAL OF THERMOMETERS
Thermometers should be brought to a thermometer exchange or the
Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center 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 soda bottle with a screw-cap
In addition to mercury thermometers from households, other types
of mercury-containing waste such as old non-digital thermostats,
barometers, manometers and other household mercury waste or devices
can be brought to the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center,
where they 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 outside Knox County. Additional information about
the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center is available at 215-6700
INFORMATION ON MERCURY
Mercury thermometers are both an environmental and a health and
safety problem. Broken thermometers are a potential source for injury
from the broken glass, as well as a chemical hazard from the mercury
in the thermometer.
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; so 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. In July 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics
issued a policy statement about the health effects of mercury, urging
doctors and parents to stop using mercury thermometers and to dispose
of them properly.
Should a mercury thermometer break, parents and teachers are reminded
that they should NEVER use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the mercury.
It can cause tiny droplets in the air, increasing the danger of
inhalation, both immediately at the site and with any future use
of the contaminated vacuum. The State of Tennessee has a fact sheet
describing proper cleanup procedures for broken thermometers at:
ON-LINE RESOURCES ABOUT MERCURY POLLUTION
American Association of Pediatrics mercury statement
USGS Mercury in the Environment - Fact sheet that includes toxic
effects, risk to people, risk to wildlife, fish advisories, sources
of mercury, environments where methylmercury is a problem, and mercury
contamination - past, present, and future.
Mercury Contamination of Aquatic Ecosystems
Mercury Research in the USGS
U.S. EPA Mercury Website - Includes general information, actions,
fish advisories, and technical information
Mercury in the Environment - by Environment Canada - http://www.ec.gc.ca/MERCURY/EN/bf.cfm
Mercury in Schools and Homes
South Florida Restoration Science Forum - Includes: Can control
of local sources reduce the risks? How will Everglades restoration
affect mercury risks? Can management of water quantity or quality
reduce the risks? Tracing foodweb relations and fish migratory habits
in the Everglades and mercury toxicity in the food chain. Also related