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October 7, 1968

Spilled Mercury

Author Affiliations

USN San Diego, Calif

JAMA. 1968;206(2):375. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150020091027

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To the Editor:—  In the QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS column (204:938, 1968) there was a question and comment on "Toxicity of Spilled Mercury."Cardiopulmonary laboratories most likely have the largest mercury problem in regard to spillage. The mercury spilled on the floor is extremely hard to get up.In our cardiopulmonary laboratory we use 20-mesh zinc in a small container. We make a 0.1N hydrochloride solution and moisten the zinc. Then we allow the zinc to stand for 10 to 15 minutes and pour it around the mercury spill. The mercury is combined with the zinc, and the spill can be easily swept up. The mercury cannot be retrieved.