Why be concerned about mercury?
Mercury is a nerve toxin that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is especially dangerous when mercury vapor is inhaled.
Mercury is particularly toxic to the developing nervous system of a fetus or young child. Having a mercury fever thermometer in your home can be a potential risk to the health of your family and community. If mercury spills from a thermometer and is not cleaned up properly, it evaporates and could reach dangerous levels in indoor air. It is very difficult to clean up spilled mercury completely.
Mercury in the air will fall with rain into lakes and streams. It is converted to methyl mercury in the environment. Once it is in the water, methyl mercury may build up in the tissues of humans and animals, including certain types of fish. When fish consumption advisories are not followed, eating mercury-contaminated fish can lead to mercury poisoning.
Minnesota retailers can no longer sell mercury fever thermometers (Minnesota Statutes §116.92).
It’s in your hands: You can help keep mercury out of your home, the air we breathe, our lakes and streams, and the fish we eat.