Created on January 24, 2024
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Mercury - Hg
https://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/80/mercury https://www.cityofbaraboo.com/vertical/sites/%7BD06131C5-F452-44C7-954E-97BD998BCA20%7D/uploads/Mercury_All_Around_Us.pdf https://scdhec.gov/environment/your-home/mercury/health-risks-mercury
Liquid Atomic Number: 80 Atomic Mass: 200.59 Location on the Periodic Table: Group 12, Period 6, block D Melting Point: -38.829 Degrees C, -37.829 Degrees F Boiling Point: 356.619°C, 673.914°F
Mercury is rarely found uncombined in nature. It can be found in drops of mercury sulfide (cinnabar) ores. Mercury is mainly produced in China and Kyrgyzstan by heating cinnabar and condensing the vapor. Mercury can be found in air water and soil. It becomes airborne when rocks erode, volcanoes erupt and soil decomposes. It circulates the atmosphere and is redistributed throughout the environment.
-Mercury was found in ancient Egyptian Tombs - Greeks and romans used Mercury in cosmetics -Primary care for syphilis in Europe before modern times -In some cultures Mercury is used to bless homes, cars, and apartments -Mercury is used in thermometers, blood pressure devices, and thermostats because it can expand and contract uniformly -Useful for measuring changes in temperature and pressure -Also used in dental fillings, paint, soap, batteries, and florescent lighting
-Liquid metal -Expands/ contracts with temperature -Conducts electricity -Combines with other metals -Kills bacteria and fungi
Mercury can be produced in many ways, and production increased after the Industrial revolution. Activities like burning coal, mining ore deposits, burning natural gas, and burning household trash can add mercury to the environment.
Humans can be exposed to Mercury through contaminated fish. Tiny amounts of Mercury can fall from the sky into the water. At the bottom of a lake or stream the sediment can convert the Mercury into Methylmercury, a very dangerous toxin. Very small organisms like zooplankton consume the Methylmercury. Small fish eat the plankton, big fish eat the small fish, and soon large fish are contaminated. The contamination spreads throughout the fish and can be found in filets that humans consume.
-If Mercury-containing objects break the Mercury will evaporate at room temp. The vapor is colorless and odorless and can lead to serious Mercury poisoning. Some people have reported a metallic taste in their mouth after inhaling Mercury. -Even small amounts of Mercury can lead to serious health and environmental problems. -While different types of Mercury is more harmful, all of it is toxic. Mercury can damage the nervous system, kidneys, liver and immune system. -It is most dangerous for pregnant women -Children under 14 with developing brains can also be heavily affected Symptoms of Mercury poisoning -Vision, speech, hearing and walking impairment -Numbness in hands, feet and sometimes around the mouth -Uncoordinated movement -Muscle weakness -Skin rashes -Mood swings, memory loss and mental disturbances
Story Time! In March 1999 a Greenbay Highschool student took a bottle of Mercury from her science room. She shared it with her friends who poured it on their skin. They went to the bowling ally and filled the finger holes with mercury, rolling the ball afterwards. When the spill was discovered they got in massive trouble. Four students had to go to the hospital and 88 people were put in decontamination chambers. Luckily no one was permanently injured.