Parents and Mercury
Some household items may contain mercury. If a spill occurs in the home, children and adults may be exposed to mercury vapor. There are steps that parents can take to protect themselves and their children from exposures to mercury:
Certain species of fish contain mercury. Learn how your children can enjoy the benefits of a healthy diet that includes fish, while minimizing their exposure to mercury.
Learn which products may contain mercury and avoid buying products that contain mercury whenever non-mercury alternatives are available.
Recycle or otherwise properly dispose of the mercury-containing products you have in your home.
Handle products containing mercury carefully to avoid breakage or spills.
Know how to clean up a spill properly; never use a vacuum cleaner.
Knowing the potential health effects, sources of mercury and mercury alternatives will help you avoid unnecessary exposure.
The Consumers page has information about mercury which can be found in your home, at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, your child’s school, and the fish your family eats.
- The Schools page provides information for school administrators, faculty, staff, local health jurisdictions, and parent groups on how to reduce the hazards of mercury on children's health in schools.
ATSDR Report on Children's Exposure to Mercury. A former industrial building in New Jersey used to manufacture mercury thermometers was converted in 2004 to a children's day care facility. Children and adults at the facility were exposed to residual amounts of mercury. As a result, Congress directed the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to further investigate and characterize these kinds of exposures. Read about ATSDR's February 2009 report "Children's Exposure to Elemental Mercury: A National Review of Exposure Events".
Some parents are concerned about the use of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, in vaccines. To learn more: