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Thread: mercury question from the super unsure

  1. #1 mercury question from the super unsure 
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    Hi I washed a cover that had been in contact with broken glass from a cfl so now I concerned I've contaminated my washer? I've read it attaches itself to the metal then too the clothes is this true? Can I decontaminate it and roughly how many micrograms would it take to contaminate the machine? Sorry if this is the wrong place but I'm a concerned new mum
    Thanks in advance


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  3. #2  
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    Hi thank you for reply annoying I spoke too enviro health and was told to talk to light manufacturer which I did and was told its scare mungering re the health risks but I was more worried about washing my daughters clothes in potentially dangerous place I'm pleased to get your answer that's why I came here as the clever science peeps here know more than I do cheers for your reply it is appreciated xx


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  4. #3  
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    It is my impression that it is not elemental mercury that is the big danger but mercury compounds. Back when I was in high school it was common for us kids to play with liquid mercury. A favorite trick was to coat a silver dime with Mercury, making the dime look like it was newly minted. Mercury bounds easy to silver . It was not a good or wise thing to do but it did not kill us dead either.
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    Thank you for replies from what I gather its dangerous to breathe in but ok to eat wtf??? How is that I personally don't eat fish so isn't a worry of mine . But when I googled about smashing oh bulbs I was said not to wash clothes or fabric that had come into contact with the glass shards I did that as I didn't know so I was super concerned that I had contaminated my machine. Being a new mum to a very young person you want to do all you can to keep them safe even if at times it seems a little ott.
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  6. #5  
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    You're discounting what "trace amounts" means.
    It is not Ok to eat Mercury. But it's pretty much harmless in trace amounts.
    Higher concentrations of it will make it a bigger problem.
    Your lungs are more sensitive to foreign material than your stomach, since the blood vessels are very close to the surface and constantly flooded with air- it's a direct source that is more sensitive to trace amounts since a larger portion of those trace amounts can be absorbed directly into the blood stream.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesuperunsure View Post
    Thank you for replies from what I gather its dangerous to breathe in but ok to eat wtf??? How is that I personally don't eat fish so isn't a worry of mine . But when I googled about smashing oh bulbs I was said not to wash clothes or fabric that had come into contact with the glass shards I did that as I didn't know so I was super concerned that I had contaminated my machine. Being a new mum to a very young person you want to do all you can to keep them safe even if at times it seems a little ott.
    I'm sure everything is fine. This may reassure you:Some comfort about broken CFLs | Technology | Science News

    It looks as if the bulbs are using decreasing amounts of mercury, due to tougher standards.

    P.S. When our son was newly born we worried about everything. For example I was appalled to find we still had an incoming water mains pipe - in our Victorian house - made of lead. Aaargh! But I got the lead level measured by the water company and it turned out to be way below the threshold for action (Apparently in hard water areas the lead becomes coated with calcium salts like a kettle, sealing it in.) Now that he's ten, I worry less about such things - I'm more concerned with his MIND getting poisoned, by the internet or bad TV!
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    For example I was appalled to find we still had an incoming water mains pipe - in our Victorian house - made of lead. Aaargh! But I got the lead level measured by the water company and it turned out to be way below the threshold for action (Apparently in hard water areas the lead becomes coated with calcium salts like a kettle, sealing it in.) Now that he's ten, I worry less about such things - I'm more concerned with his MIND getting poisoned, by the internet or bad TV!
    Were the pipes lead? Or were the solder joints lead?
    In the old days, we used galvanized that wasn't threaded together, but soldered. Lead was commonly used; you would see a vat of molten lead at the jobsite. The pipes were fitted together and the lead pressed into the joints to connect it and seal it. But the pipes themselves were not made of lead.

    Over here, that practice ended decades ago and we went to copper tubing with lead free solder. Nowadays, it's often polyvinylchloride or the latest craze- that PEX crap.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    For example I was appalled to find we still had an incoming water mains pipe - in our Victorian house - made of lead. Aaargh! But I got the lead level measured by the water company and it turned out to be way below the threshold for action (Apparently in hard water areas the lead becomes coated with calcium salts like a kettle, sealing it in.) Now that he's ten, I worry less about such things - I'm more concerned with his MIND getting poisoned, by the internet or bad TV!
    Were the pipes lead? Or were the solder joints lead?
    In the old days, we used galvanized that wasn't threaded together, but soldered. Lead was commonly used; you would see a vat of molten lead at the jobsite. The pipes were fitted together and the lead pressed into the joints to connect it and seal it. But the pipes themselves were not made of lead.

    Over here, that practice ended decades ago and we went to copper tubing with lead free solder. Nowadays, it's often polyvinylchloride or the latest craze- that PEX crap.
    Yup, an actual lead pipe. Quite likely original, from when the house was built in 1897. It's only the section inside the house: the part under the soil, between the house and the main in the road, will be steel or plastic. All the pipes in Victorian times were lead, but have mostly been replaced, due to the risk of them splitting if the water freezes - a common event in my childhood but now rare. This part is in the cellar so protected from extreme cold. I suppose I should replace it, but rather as with asbestos, it is often more hazardous to disturb potentially dangerous substances than leave them peacefully in situ. If we were in a soft water area it would be different: no protective layer of "hardness" would have formed, and the acidity would leach lead into the water.
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  10. #9  
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    Ok, but I'm gonna keep my eye on you and if you start slurring your posts in a monglified manner, I'm calling in the Roman Centurions to deal with you.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Ok, but I'm gonna keep my eye on you and if you start slurring your posts in a monglified manner, I'm calling in the Roman Centurions to deal with you.
    Too late...I ate beef throughout the BSE saga in the '80s!
    Neverfly likes this.
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