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Pressure Gauge Safety for Plumbers

Are you still using a pressure gauge that contains mercury?

Diagram of pressure gauge

Mercury spills are one of the most common chemical spills. Instruments containing elemental mercury, including manometers, are easily broken. It can cost from $5,000 to $100,000 to clean up a mercury spill. Even the small amount found in your gauge can be hazardous when spilled. Once released, mercury continues to evaporate into the surrounding air and can be inhaled. Exposure to mercury vapors affects the brain and can cause irritability, tremors, memory loss, hypertension, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Mercury spilled on fabric, carpet or porous surfaces is difficult to clean and remains a source of mercury vapors.

How do I recycle the mercury gauges?

Take the mercury gauges to a permitted recycler or arrange with a permitted transporter to take them. Contact your county or NYSDEC for available services in your area.

If you store the mercury-containing gauges prior to recycling, store them in a covered, air-tight unbreakable container.

You should know that the alternatives are better.

Several mercury-free alternatives are available: Some use a liquid other than mercury in the pressure column; others use an air diaphragm. Electronic gauges can also be used to measure pressure.

Reduce your health and personal liability risks - use mercury-free gauges.

Mercury Information Sources
For questions about Call
Mercury Disposal NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC): 1-800-462-6553 or 518-402-8792
Spilled Mercury NYSDEC: 1-800-457-7362
Health Effects NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH): 1-800-458-1158

Any comments or questions?
Contact us at: 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750
518-402-9469 (phone); 518-402-9168 (fax)

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