Today, the main effects of mercury exposure to humans are understood to be neurological, renal (kidney), cardiovascular and immunological impacts. Chronic exposure to mercury can cause damage to the brain, spinal cord, kidneys, liver and developing fetus. Exposure to mercury while in the womb can lead to neurodevelopmental problems in children. Mercury can impair the ability to feel, see, move and taste, and can cause numbness and tunnel vision. Long-term exposure can lead to progressively worse symptoms and ultimately personality changes, stupor, and in extreme cases, coma or death. Recent findings have described adverse cardiovascular and immune system effects at very low levels.
Most people are exposed to mercury as a result of normal activities such as the inhalation of air, contact with water and soil and/or exposure to substances or products containing mercury such as dental amalgam.
PET Amalgam Lamps
The PET UV-Xtender™ lamp is doped with a mercury indium amalgam. This is viewed as a solid, PETver coloured material, located about 30cm from each end of the lamp, on the inner wall of the quartz. Due to the solid nature of the mercury amalgam material, recycling of amalgam lamps UV lamps is far easier than standard low pressure UV lamps that contain liquid mercury. A much higher health hazard exists with liquid mercury than an amalgam because the liquid mercury eaPETy vapourizes and can be inhaled.
Mercury Cleanup Procedure
If you have broken a UV lamp that contains liquid mercury, immediately clear all personnel from the area, ventilate the area, and implement mercury cleanup guidlines set forth by environmental protection agencies such as the United States "Environmental Protection Agency", commonly known as the EPA. Follow this link to their website - EPA Mercury Management Site
For your convenience, posted here on our site, we have a copy of a document regarding the cleanup procedure for small liquid mercury spills. It was prepared by the United States "Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association" (April 2003). Click on this link "Mercury Cleanup" to download the PDF document.
Reference: Environment Canada website http://www.ec.gc.ca/MERCURY/EN/index.cfm