More mercury madness

The mere presence of a mercury thermometer brought a Florida school into a complete uproar, complete with a lockdown and a hazmat team brought in. These are the people educating America’s children in our government schools.

Seminole High School locked down after student brings mercury-filled thermometer to class for chemistry project

A chemistry project caused a big problem at Pinellas’ Seminole High School Tuesday morning. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says students were given an assignment to bring in a substance from the Periodic Table of Elements. One student brought in mercury — contained within a thermometer – - and the school went into lockdown.

Deputies say the thermometer was discovered as the substances were checked before going through the school. No one was put in harm’s way, but a hazmat crew was there as a precaution. Pinellas County Schools tell 10 News the students were told not to bring certain toxic elements from the periodic table, mercury included.

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15 responses to “More mercury madness

  1. They better not go into my Doctors office

  2. Or Dad’s cupboard where he keeps his Finlandia vodka. Reportedly it kills about ten thousand times more people than the (in itself very dangerous) mercury vapor, but so far I have seen no uproar or legal action when someone brings it onto lawful premises..

  3. Mercury? The stuff we used to roll around desks and floors because the droplets were cool. The stuff we used to make shiny (for a while) silver copper pennies. The stuff that came in diffusion pumps and the 1-2L McCloed in my hi-vac research apparatus. The stuff in a NIST traceable thermometer. The stuff in a scad of older light switches and thermostats. The stuff in the energy-saving lights. That mercury?
    Been a while since I walked the halls of academe, but what are they teaching these days?

  4. Can a school district be sued for mass stupidity?

  5. @Jim Sweet–One could only hope.
    Comment: It seems acceptable that the children are forced to sit in classroom lit by mercury containing bulbs that can harm them, yet cannot bring a mercury thermometer.
    (http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/health/environ/pollu/gen/pdf/flolight.pdf in case one doubts how very, very dangerous these bulbs are. Not just the CFLs, mind you. Reading the list of damages mercury can cause, one wonders if we are too late and mercury is omnipresent in the entire school system.)
    This really is child abuse–lying and terrifying children for no reason. I doubt, however, that any parent cared enough to take their child out of this abusive environment. Expect more abuse.

    • Most of the problems with fluorescent tubes when they break is not from the mercury, it is from the phosphors. They prevent blood from clotting, if you get cut when the bulb breaks, and when you break the bulb you usually get a puff of phosphor powder. If you accidentally breath it into your lungs it can cause internal bleeding and permanent scarring of your lung tissues. That is the real problem – which is why they say, leave the room for 5 minutes – it allows the phosphors in the air to spread out.

  6. Although I knew the answer, I Googled “Is elemental mercury toxic?” and quickly realized that the first several hits would probably be over the head of a typical high school teacher. However, a competent high school chemistry instructor should have no trouble understanding that metallic mercury is minimally toxic even when ingested. This reflects very poorly on the competence of the teaching staff at this particular school, and I wouldn’t be surprised if similar scientific ignorance is systemic throughout our nation’s schools.

  7. And we mock those who are terrified of vampires.

  8. I’m just thankful that nobody was harmed. Except for the taxpayers who had to pay for the hazmat team.

  9. I’m more afraid of the zombie apocalypse than metallic mercury. I’ve actually held the latter in my hot little hands, and now 40 years later I’m beset by……nothing.

  10. Robert McMullen

    I imagine the school has 100 times the amount of mercury in the lights in every classroom than is in the thermometer. Call Hazmat!!!

  11. Many if not most thermometers don’t actually use mercury anymore.
    They use a mixture of gallium, indium and tin called galinston.
    Some use an alcohol mixture, or other compounds.
    At any rate, IIRC, it also depends on the type of mercury being used as well.
    It’s only been 60 or 70 years ago doctors were dispensing mercuy pills for constipation. ( swallow and RUN to the outhouse!!! )

  12. I used to be the proud owner of around 300ml (about 5kg) of Mercury when I was a teenager. It’s amazing to see solid objects, such as balls from pinball machines float effortlessly on the surface. I even used to dribble the stuff through my hands. It was way cool. I’m now 44 and no affliction can be traced to my handling of the stuff, except my innate ability to disbelieve the AGW crowd.

  13. I needed to thank you for this very ood read!!
    I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I’ve got you book
    marked to check out new things you post…

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