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Mercury Monitoring

Mercury is used for the manufacture of industrial chemicals and for electrical and electronic applications. It can be found in meteorological equipment like thermometers and barometers. Gaseous mercury is used in mercury-vapor lamps which light highways at night.

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Mercury Monitoring

What is Mercury?

Mercury is a substantial metal that can be toxic. It comes in three forms, and each can cause different symptoms if ingested, inhaled or absorbed into the body through the skin. It exists naturally as a liquid at room temperature and as an odourless vapour.

Symptoms of Exposure

Long-term exposure to Mercury can cause kidney and brain damage in adults.

Symptoms of Mercury in your system/poisoning:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

Inhaling can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Burning sensation in your mouth

Biological monitoring is a way of assessing chemical exposures by measuring the chemical or its breakdown products in a biological sample.
Biological monitoring is particularly useful where chemicals are likely to be significantly absorbed through the skin where controls rely upon the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks.

Why do Biological Monitoring?

Biological monitoring has a number of roles in exposure assessment.  Some of the situations where it has been useful:

  • To check that control measures are working
  • Ensure that work practices are protective
  • Make sure training is understood and followed

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