Mercury fever thermometers are made of glass the size of a straw, with a silvery-white liquid inside. A mercury thermometer is a tool used to measure temperature. The accuracy of a mercury thermometer varies depending on many thing. If the liquid in your thermometer bulb is silver, then the liquid might be: a non-toxic compound that looks similar to mercury. You can read more about the impact the decision will have in NIST’s February 2011 press release announcing the change. A mercury thermometer broke: what to do? I know the hospitals use some digital ear thermometers that are supposed to be rated very high for accuracy, and as a consumer you can buy these models yourself. I know mercury thermometers are still alive and well in science classes! If there are any broken pieces of glass or sharp objects, pick them up with care. Everyone knows that mercury is one of the most powerful poisons, thus, have toxicity even mercury vapor. The functionality of the bulb is to store the mercury and is usually made of stainless steel, but can be made of glass as well. The disposable "hat" of an ear thermometer can be replaced, and do not need to be soaked and disinfected. View a list of the updated ASTM standards. I remember when I was very little we used a mercury thermometer and my mom always warned us to be very careful with them. Common household uses of mercury thermometers include fever thermometers and oven, candy and meat thermometers. In a mercury thermometer, a glass tube is filled with mercury and a standard temperature scale is marked on the tube. I think as long as you are careful there is no need to drop $50 or more on a digital thermometer. This type can be used either orally, which is to say slipped under the tongue, or rectally. Mercury is one of the most familiar materials used in liquid thermometers. Place all broken objects on a paper towel. Spilled mercury can be very challenging to clean, since the loose liquid often forms rounded “balls” that can bounce and scatter across a floor or room. It is at the bottom and is cylindrical or spherical depending on the artifact. The mercury thermometer is a classic design for temperature measurement still used by many families. An exception is on the high end of the temperature scale. Mercury expands as the temperature increases, thus raising the reading, while decreasing temperatures contract the mercury, lowering the reading. Glass Oral Temperature for Fever Test, Oral Temperature for Adult or Baby, Rectal Axillar Temperatur… Some of them will deliver temperature readings within two to three seconds rather than forcing you to wait for almost a minute as with other consumer grade digital thermometers. Although many people commonly associate thermometers with a mercury filling, the dangerous properties of mercury have spurred manufacturers to use other liquids inside the glass gauges. Using mercury thermometers is … You can use Earth911's Recycling Locator Exit to find a mercury recycling center near you. Better accuracy for temperature measurement results. That mercury was secured in a metal tip. EPA has launched an effort to reduce the use of mercury-filled non-fever thermometers used in industrial settings where suitable alternatives exist. Learn more about how to tell if there is mercury in your fever thermometer. Newer technologies include non-mercury liquids-in-glass as well as digital and electronic devices that use sensors to measure temperature. Mercury is a toxic and hazardous chemical. The United States has not banned mercury in medical settings, though many advocacy groups have recommended a number of safety precautions. With changes in temperature, the mercury expands and contracts, and the temperature can be read from the scale. I am not sure if it was just the brand that was being used on us at work, but it never got a reading correct without multiple tries, and even that final reading was questionable. For daily use, despite prices, a digital thermometer is the best choice. In some instances they’re also used in kitchens, usually as a way of monitoring warm liquids, but most modern chefs prefer more food-specific gauges. Mercury thermometers are no longer recommended because they can break and allow mercury — which is toxic — to escape. The purpose of the restriction is to to keep any given reading visible on the thermometer … There are two general types of mercury thermometers that measure body temperature: Alternatives to mercury fever thermometers, Cleanup and disposal after breaking a thermometer, Learn more about how to tell if there is mercury in your fever thermometer, NIST’s February 2011 press release announcing the change, final rule incorporating updated ASTM International (ASTM) standards into EPA regulations (PDF), View a list of the updated ASTM standards, Phasing Out of Mercury Thermometers Used in Industrial and Laboratory Settings page, specific state laws, resolutions and declarations, What to do when a mercury fever thermometer breaks/spills, How to recycle and dispose of mercury products, Oral/rectal/baby thermometers, containing about 0.61 grams of mercury, Basal temperature thermometers (used to track slight changes in body temperature), containing about 2.25 grams of mercury. Just the same, due to the dangers associated with mercury poisoning, many countries around the world, most notably in Europe, have banned mercury-based thermometers for medical use. Mercury thermometer is a glass thermometer filled with mercury as the measuring liquid. Mercury can be toxic if consumed, and it can also cause skin and eye damage if touched or respiratory distress if inhaled. Collectible mercury thermometers on eBay come in many shapes, sizes, and transduction methods. Other liquids, such as kerosene or ethanol , may also be used in these types of thermometers. Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem. The basic instrumentality is usually pretty simple. These thermometers are usually marked with temperature readings on the Fahrenheit or Celsius scale. Mercury thermometers are used in households, laboratory experiments, and industrial applications. It is obvious that when the mercury thermometer is broken - it's a disaster, since the impact of mercury on the stems and develops into small … The basic concept of each different type of thermometer is the same, but the style differs. As part of a partnership EPA developed with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NIST no longer provides calibration services for mercury thermometers. If mercury freezes, nitrogen can be caught behind the metal causing the thermometer to stop working. It’s dangerous if a mercury thermometer shatters on the ground since mercury is toxic. If you have children and they are scared of having their temperature taken in a traditional method you can buy nifty plastic strip thermometers. Mercury, which is a chemical element, rises and falls in response to temperature changes, and watching where it stops along the scale provides a reading of how hot or cold a particular substance is. This thermometer is a thin glass tube with a silver tip and line inside. The small silvery ball in a mercury thermometer can be dangerous if the glass breaks and the mercury is not cleaned up properly. Mercury-driven thermometers may also be used by meteorologists to measure air temperature. Higher temperatures cause mercury to grow longer, while low temperatures cause it to fall or shrink back down. Then when I got a little bit older digital thermometers came out and we replaced our mercury thermometer. Mercury, which is also sometimes known as quicksilver, is a silvery liquid that responds very well to atmospheric changes, particularly temperature and barometric pressure. Metal is usually regarded as a good conductor of heat, and Fahrenheit noticed that when that tip was placed into liquids of varying temperatures, the mercury rose and fell in the glass chamber. To date, multiple ASTM standards have been updated to approve the use of mercury-free alternatives for temperature measurement. With the strips you stick on you no longer have to worry about any of that. These are similar to mercury thermometers in both price and use. I have found that the digital thermometers that you press against your forehead are absolutely terrible. The bulb is the basis of mercury thermometers. The space above the mercury may be filled with nitrogengas or it may b… Nitrogen gas is what usually holds the mercury in place, and usually has to be inserted during the manufacturing process. The ear thermometer is cleaner and less invasive than an oral thermometer, which is what it has going for it, but if I can’t be sure that the temperature is accurate it’s not much use. I really loved the idea of plastic strip thermometers because with mercury thermometers I was always worried about my children dropping the glass vial and breaking it. In a thermometer, the color helps determine the type of liquid. Mercury thermometers are designed utilizing the idea that mercury expands with heat. Some of these thermometers do not have replaceable batteries. High thermal conductivity, high sensitivity to temperature, and good visibility make mercury the best for liquid-filled Thermometers. In order to measure temperatures below this point, meteorologists will often mix mercury with thallium alloy. For broader coverage of this topic, see Temperature measurement. The mercury-in-glass or mercury thermometer was invented by physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in Amsterdam (1714). This allows temperature readings to be kept until mercury is forced back into the tip by centrifugal force, or shaking the thermometer with the head pointed toward the floor. At home I’ve taken different temperature readings when using the ear thermometer and got different results each time, usually off by a degree or two – sometimes within the same hour. Mercury thermometers tend to be much more durable under duress. A maximum mercury-style thermometer works in much the same way as the standard version, but the mercury does not shrink back into the tip when removed from a heat source. I remember using them in every lab science class I ever took in high school and college. What to do if a mercury thermometer breaks. The Health Care Without Harm website presents information on specific state laws, resolutions and declarations.Exit. I think you can get them for under $50. They are painless to use and disposable so you don’t have to worry about cleaning anything. There are usually a number of different options and models available depending on the intended use. Many of these tools are used in medicine and around the home to gauge body temperature, though they can also be used outside and in more professional meteorological situations. Glass Oral Temperature for Fever Test, Oral Temperature for Adult or Baby, Rectal Axillar Temperatur… A slight amount of mercury is placed into the base of the thermometer, and as heat warms the base of the thermometer, it increases the mercury level, pushing it up a narrow tube so we can physically read the increase on the thermometer; however, at a slow pace.