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Macomb County

Mercury

Macomb County residents are encouraged to bring in their mercury containing thermometers to any Macomb County Health Department service location for environmentally safe and secure disposal.

Mercury is a liquid metal, which is toxic to humans, environmentally persistent, and accumulates in the food chain. Children are especially vulnerable to the hazards associated with mercury through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. Mercury is particularly dangerous when heated, creating vapors and making it more easily inhaled. Mercury targets the central nervous system and can lead to brain damage, tremors, speech problems, blindness and death. In the environment, mercury can be converted into methyl mercury which is very toxic. Currently, a fish consumption advisory is in effect for all of Michigan's 11,000 inland lakes due to contamination.

Assuming one mercury thermometer per household, approximately 432 pounds of mercury is contained in 280,000 fever thermometers within Macomb County households. Every ounce of mercury collected by the Macomb County Health Department minimizes the potential of a spill, thereby reducing the threats to the environment and public health by this dangerous compound.

Drop off Procedure

  • Only mercury containing thermometers are accepted. Red colored thermometers do not contain mercury.
  • Transport and deliver thermometers in a double container:
    -place the thermometer in the original protective case or other non-breakable container
    AND
    -place the case or container in a zip lock bag or other non-breakable container

Thermometers can be dropped off at either the Central Health Center or Southwest Health Center.  For location click here.

Broken Mercury Thermometer?

1. Isolate the spill area and ventilate the room.

2. Consult the DEQ's Small Spill Guide click here. or here

3. Collected mercury can be disposed by calling the Macomb County Health Department at 586-469-5236.

4. Contact the Macomb County Health Department for additional information.

National Atmospheric Deposition Program

Macomb County is participating in a national program to measure the concentration of mercury in precipitation.  Weekly samples are collected at a site located in Sterling Heights and analyzed for the presence of mercury.  To learn more visit the National Atmospheric Deposition Program web site.  For Macomb County sampling data click here.

Questions?

If you have any questions, call us at 586-469-5236, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. or E-mail us now.

Other Resources

Environmental Protection Agency
http://www.epa.gov/mercury/