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Resource

Mercury In Buildings

Software that helps find and reduce mercury in buildings

This free HTML program from USEPA was made especially for construction and demolition contractors and owners and managers of buildings to make them aware of the problem of mercury in buildings and to provide information on how to solve this problem. This program is designed to take you through the steps to reduce the amount of mercury in buildings. It explains everything from locating the devices and sources of mercury to the handling, transportation and recycling of mercury and mercury components.

This page is also useful to architects, who can use it when designing new construction to eliminate unnecessary uses of mercury, and anyone who is concerned about mercury and wishes to identify and remove mercury from homes and the work place. In addition, state and local government agencies can use this page to help with outreach to the construction and demolition industry, and to help with programs to address mercury in buildings more generally, for instance through the development of programs to collect household hazardous waste and to remove mercury from appliances.

Keeping mercury-containing devices out of buildings, and handling the mercury that has already been put into buildings safely and without damaging the environment, requires the participation of building owners, businesses that design, construct and demolish buildings, and government. Mercury is highly toxic. Liquid mercury is present in many devices, such as thermostats, that are found in buildings. When liquid mercury is exposed to air, harmful, invisible vapors are emitted. Spilling even a small amount of mercury can threaten the health of anyone who is present, and lead to an expensive cleanup.

Moreover, when mercury gets into the environment, it concentrates in fish in a highly toxic organic form. Eating contaminated fish damages the neurological development of children, and especially of fetuses exposed when their mothers eat fish. It also can cause kidney damage. It is easy to reduce the amount of mercury released into the environment and to protect yourself from mercury exposure.