Mercury Program
Image of a thermometer 

If you have a mercury spill, please read the Mercury Clean-up Guidelines before attempting to clean.

Do not vacuum a liquid mercury spill.
 

What is mercury and why is it a problem?

Mercury is a naturally occurring element (Hg on the periodic table) that is found in the air, water, and soil. It exists in several forms: elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Elemental or metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal, and is liquid at room temperature.

Exposures to mercury can affect the human nervous system and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and the immune system. Click Here to learn more about the health effects of mercury.

Where is mercury found?

Mercury is commonly used in many consumer products, such as thermometers, thermostats, switches, and pressure gauges. Click Here for more information on mercury in consumer products.

Fish can contain methylmercury (organic mercury) which occurs naturally, and is released into the environment from mining operations, fossil fuel combustion, trash incineration, and industrial waste discharges. State agencies work in partnership to issue advisories, which do not ban the consumption of fish from a particular water body, but are designed to inform the public of how to safely prepare and eat what they catch, and provide guidelines for limiting consumption. Click Here to access the 2012 Fish Consumption Advisories Environmental Risk Assessment.

It is also a potent toxin that can affect human health.

It is important to carefully manage mercury-containing products to prevent accidental release into the environment and to protect human health.

The DHHS Mercury Program is designed to provide education about the dangers of mercury exposure, mercury poisoning, and to assist Nebraskans with information about mercury spill clean-up and disposal of mercury-containing items.

For questions regarding mercury health effects, clean-up instructions, or disposal of mercury containing items, please contact the Mercury Call Line.

Nebraska Mercury Call Line: 888-242-1100, Extension 4

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Mercury Program Home

Health Effects

Recycling and Disposal 
 -Thermostat Recycling

Clean-up Guidelines

Mercury Call Line

Indoor Air Quality Program


Prevention and source reduction of metallic mercury is key to a healthy environment.
To reduce the risk of mercury exposure, avoid using products that contain metallic mercury.
Substitutes such as digital thermostats are available.
 

 

 

 

 

 


DHHS- Division of Public Health, Environmental Health Unit
Office of Environmental Health Hazards & Indoor Air, Indoor Air Quality Program
P.O. Box 95026, 301 Centennial Mall South- 3rd Floor
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026
General Inquiries: 402-471-1005
Mercury Call Line: 402-326-0231
Toll Free: 888-242-1100, Extension 4 (Nebraska only)


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