Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mercury - Its Not Just a Planet

So we were bored last night and decided a visit from the local fire station and hazmat teams from two counties would spice things up.

I was home with Big Man yesterday as he has some kind of stomach bug. Late afternoon I tried to take his temperature. When I pulled the thermometer from its sleeve, the entire tip was broken off. I threw it out and didn't think more about it. That evening, after everyone was home, I was playing Mancala with K. When I stood up to get a fallen piece, I saw silver beads all over the chair I was sitting on. Immediately I realized - MERCURY!! $(%*&#(* We got the kids out of the room and worked at trying to clean it up. We were having a hard time - it kept spilling off the chair and onto the carpet. So we got a vacuum to suck it up. BIG MISTAKE.

Once we had it cleaned I went online to see how bad it was. Apparently vacuuming heats up the mercury and puts in into the air. Oh joy. So I called poison control. They said I needed to call the local fire station and have them come check it out. About 3 minutes later, lights and sirens blaring, 1 fire truck, an emergency vehicle and a hazmat truck barrel down the street and stop in front of our house. They come in, look around, and say it is very unlikely it was actually mercury. We are relieved. But I am still a bit concerned, so I offer to go trash barrel diving and find the thermometer I had put out with the trash earlier. I manage to find it at the bottom of our trash barrel, and they say "oh yeah, that's mercury alright". Then decide they need to call in a specialist who has a wand thingy to read mercury levels in our house.

After another 40 minutes or so, they show up. Meantime all the trucks with lights are sitting in front of our house and the neighbors houses. They conclude it was mercury but not in dangerous levels. They confiscate our vacuum and rug and call it a night.

Lesson learned? No more mercury thermometers (they tell me you can't buy them anymore anyway) and just scoop it up with paper or such and DO NOT VACUUM.

Ahh...we needed some excitement in our life anyway. (and the kids loved seeing the trucks!)


Laura said...

Holy Crow!!!

I would have never thought of that...yeek!

Hope all is well now.

Amy W said...

Sounds like you had an exciting evening!!

Justice Jones said...

OMG! This is crazy (and funny). This happened to us over the summer and I did nothing but wiped up the spill with a papertowel. Maybe this is why my hair is falling out! I thought it was stress.

I'm sure the kids enjoyed the adventure.

'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why! said...

I laughed so hard at your adventure that Yoplait Blackberry Harvest yogurt almost came out of my nose!! I'm sure the kids enjoyed all the chaos (mine sure would) I also learned something useful (I still have 2 mercury thermometers, but I don't use them with the kids cause of the glass stick/tile floor/screaming heathen issue)
Keep up the insanity!
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