10 Things You Need To Know About the Chemical Element Mercury

Sep 15 07:47 2011 Dom Triviamaster Print This Article

Do you remember the old thermometers that used to have liquid mercury in them? Countless parents and grandparents were constantly warning children to be extremely careful with those thermometers when shaking the mercury down. Do you know why? Well, if you don’t remember or if you’ve never been told, this article will enlighten you to that, as well as several other facts about the element mercury.

1. Mercury was discovered centuries ago,Guest Posting as evidenced by it being found in various tombs throughout Egypt dating back to 1500 BC. No one is credited with its discovery for this reason; however, a great deal has been learned about mercury since this time.

2.   Mercury is represented by the Hg symbol and has an atomic number of 80. It is also commonly known by two other terms: hydrargyrum and quicksilver. Of all metals, mercury is the only one that, at standard temperature conditions and pressure, is liquid.

3.   Mercury was actually thought to prolong life by the ancient Chinese and Tibetans. They also believed this element could be used to maintain good health and heal fractures. However, a former emperor of China died after drinking a mixture of powdered jade and mercury.

4.   In ancient Greece, mercury was used in ointments and cosmetics, the latter of which often resulted in facial deformities.

5.   Mercury is a very rare element, having a presence of just 0.08 ppm (parts per million) in the Earth’s crust. Yet, because mercury doesn’t geochemically blend with the elements that represent the larger crustal mass, its ores are often very concentrated. In fact, many of this elements ores are can be as much as 2.5% mercury.

6.   Mercury can be found in either native metal form or within other minerals, such as cordierite, cinnabar and livingstonite.

7.   Most currently, the primary uses of mercury are realized during the manufacturing of electrical applications and industrial chemicals. However, there are countless applications that mercury is used in.

8.   Surprisingly, mercury is present in several areas of medicine, including being present in various dental amalgams, in certain vaccines to preserve them, in topical antiseptics and in diuretics, laxatives, diaper rash creams and ointments, nasal sprays, eye drops and, of course, it is still used in thermometers.

9.   Several mascaras contain mercury as well, although Minnesota chose to ban any cosmetics that contained mercury that was intentionally added. This ban began in 2008 and is actually stricter than the regulations of the United States federal government.

10. Mercury is considered to be extremely toxic, capable of causing both acute and chronic poisoning, and should be handled with great care. Because of this, it is important to be aware of clean up procedures in the event of a mercury spill (or a broken thermometer containing mercury). Do not use a broom or vacuum to clean up mercury; this will only disperse it further. Instead, attempt to merge the droplets into a large pool and then use an eyedropper to remove the mercury to a secure location. Once this has been done, you will need to spread powdered zinc or sulfur onto the spill area, collect this and dispose of it per the requirements in your city or state. If mercury is spilled on clothing, it should be removed and discarded according to the same state or city regulations.

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Dom Triviamaster
Dom Triviamaster

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