About Mercury

about mercury

Want to learn more about mercury?

The first thing you can do to keep your school safe from the dangers of mercury is to get the facts.

What is Elemental Mercury?

Mercury is a metal found naturally in the environment. It comes is a few forms. Elemental (metallic) mercury is the shiny, silver-gray metal found in thermometers, barometers, thermostats, and other electrical switches.

  • Mercury can break into droplets when spilled. The droplets spread easily and can build up in tiny cracks and spaces wherever it is spilled.
  • Mercury can vaporize (evaporate) into the air. The vapor cannot be seen or smelled.
  • Breathing in mercury vapors is the most common way to get mercury poisoning – and also the most dangerous.
  • Mercury can be toxic to the nervous system, lungs, and kidneys.
Check out the following resources to help you learn the basics about mercury:



Use our interactive body to see how mercury can affect your health. Try it out! Look under the For Student tab for more activities.



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Page last reviewed: September 10, 2018