Had a scare in the house this morning. Came downstairs to see the natural oak kitchen floor was mottled black and oak. Looked like someone had tried to tie dye it. Turns out, the 12 year old had broken a thermometer on the floor and “cleaned it up.” It was out on the kitchen counter because she had been using it for a science fair project at school.
I immediately start screaming orders- dogs out, kids out, what did you use to clean it up- and putting things in plastic bags. Then off to google to see how to clean it up. Of course, all the instructions are for at the time of the spill- not after someone else has “cleaned it up.”
First thing I wanted to know was when the thermometer was purchased- T. thought it was around the time the 8 year old was born. It turns out- that was after 2002 when our government had started to push to stop the sale of mercury-based thermometers, but they were still available. This is a good reason why we need the Consumer Products Safety Commission- we shouldn’t have been able to buy the things in the first place. Turns out it can cost thousands of dollars to clean up a spill.
As I’ve got the windows open, and am throwing out my new socks that I had been wearing last night- T. says- here’s the thermometer and has it in her hands. I quickly grab another Ziploc- not believing she even picked it up, and seal it in. Huge sigh of relief soon follows, the thermometer clearly says “no-Mercury.”
The floor cleans with soap and water. Crisis avoided.
So, to help you avoid having a morning like mine- I recommend going through your drawers and medicine cabinets and finding any mercury thermometers and putting them in a Ziploc bag and making arrangements to dispose of them properly.
The city of Dayton has a site that lists all of these household mercury hazards that should be disposed of properly:
- Older alkaline batteries
- Some button batteries (found in toys, cards, watches, calculators, gym shoes that light up or make noise)
- Thermometers with a silver bulb
- Fluorescent or high intensity discharge lights
- Older latex paints (manufactured before August 1990)
- Some oil based paints
- Thermostats (non-electronic models)
- Older pesticides / fungicides for seeds and turf
- “Silent” light switches
- Some antique clock pendulums
- Some “silvering” on antique mirrors
They suggest contacting the Montgomery County Solid Waste district. Their site doesn’t actually say anything about mercury- other than CFL light bulbs which is only mentioned in a picture (bad for accessibility and SEO):
Household Hazardous Waste Recycling
This program is available for Montgomery County residents only. **Proof of residency is required. We have weekly collection at both facilities.fluorescent light
North Transfer, 6589 Old Webster St., Vandalia, Ohio
Tuesdays only, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
South Transfer, 1001 Encrete Ln., Dayton, Ohio
Saturdays only, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
**There will be no drop off available Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.
Note: We cannot accept material from businesses. Veolia Environmental, Clean Water and Special Waste Systems are some of the companies that accept commercial hazardous waste locally.
- Batteries (vehicle & portable) Fertilizers
- Fire extinguishers Fluorescent lights
- Gas/propane tanks Heavy metals (silver, mercury)
- Household cleaners Mineral spirits
- Paints (latex & oil-based) Pesticides/herbicides
- Photographic chemicals Pool chemicals
- Thinners/strippers Varnishes/stains
- Vehicle fluids
Paint, other than lead based, is not hazardous waste. If you have small amounts of paint, leave the container open to dry and discard in your trash. You can add kitty litter or sawdust to speed drying time.
Any empty containers that held paint, motor oil or blacktop sealer should be disposed of with your trash. Aerosol cans should be discharged completely and placed in either your recycling bin or trash bin. (Check with your trash company for their policy on disposal of these items.)
A little bit of prevention in the house today can save you a whole lot of expensive headaches later.
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