What is Mercury?
Mercury is a neurotoxin.
- elemental (metallic) mercury,
- inorganic mercury compounds, and
- methylmercury and other organic compounds.
In terms of occupational exposure to mercury, spills of even small amounts of the element can see mercury vapour contaminating the indoor air, and there have been numerous reported cases of deaths being attributed to small spillages that were not properly cleaned up.
Ensuring that facilities are safe as they are worked upon and that there is no health risk associated with any repurposed land or with new or refurbished buildings when they are occupied places an emphasis on effective mercury contamination monitoring.
- the form of mercury (for example, methylmercury or elemental (metallic) mercury);
- the amount of mercury in the exposure;
- the age of the person exposed (unborn infants are the most vulnerable);
- how long the exposure lasts;
- how the person is exposed — breathing, eating, skin contact, etc.; and
- the health of the person exposed.