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Broken thermometer and mercury poisoning

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Mom2twoboys Views: 5,055
Published: 15 years ago

Broken thermometer and mercury poisoning

My 2 year old son broke a thermometer yesterday. It is a bigger thermometer than usual (it was brought from another country). I didn't realize until when it was time to go to sleep. I found the inside part of it (the one that shows the temperature) and I was stupid enough to think that was the mercury part. So I thought that there might be glass all over the carpet and I vacuumed (now i know it was the worse thing to do!). Then I googled more and found out that mercury is the liquid part and after I vacuumed it is all over the air that we were breathing. So I called the fire department to find out the risks. They sent in firefirghters, they removed a part of carpet that we think MIGHT have mercury part, but we weren't able to locate the actual mercury. They also removed the vacuum itself, the bedding, and clothing that we were wearing. The problem is after that it was vacuumed and I walked around other parts of the house as well as children (which also I now know I shouldn't have done) and possibly now it's all over my place. But also since I cannot see it and they weren't able to see it is it now gone in the vaccum? or is it inside the carpet?

I am not sure what to do now and very confused and scared. Do i rip out all the carpeting? It is a rental place, and I cannot afford to pay for all new carpeting at the moment, not to mention that we are in the process of purchasing our own place in the next 6 months, I just can't afford that expense. But at the same time our health is at risk. I am really scared that we might be breathing vapours from the mercury every day. My both children are under risk. Us too. Do I stop vacuuming completely? Is it possibly in their rooms as well?

We were taken to the hospital and they assessed us, but we were ok and were sent home. Although my little one has been coughing, so I will have to watch him closely.

I researched on detecting mercury and special equipment, but it is just too expensive also. Even to rent. I mean I would like to check for mercury levels in the bedrooms.

Am i panicing for nothing?

Is anybody here who is in chemistry Science that would be able to answer a couple of questions? Such as once it was vacuumed, does it settle down in the carpet or it stays in the air? If I open windows will the vapours go away or they will continue being there, as long as mercury is in the carpet (or whereever it is)? Should I assume it is alright now, because firefighters checked with flashlights the whole bedroom, but they didn't find it (yet again it is carpet, and it's probably in tiny little droplets all over the carpet since I vacuumed). I am very concerned and not sure what to do.

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