A Better Fate For Mercury?

Palenik, C.S. (2011) A Better Fate For Mercury?, Letter to the Editor. Chemical and Engineering News v89(16) 6.

Published on: 4/18/2011

In reading the 7 March 2011 article about NIST’s goal to eliminate remaining mercury thermometers from science and industry, I found the article’s noble end to be a bit humorous: Mercury from former NIST thermometers is being proudly “repurposed” into CFL bulbs. It seems to me, that the very mercury, which has remained safe, contained and looked-after on the benches scientists for 20, or maybe even 50 years, will amount to a new, and more public source of exposure after being distributed in a consumer product that will undoubtedly be more frequently broken, improperly cleaned-up, and disposed of incorrectly. I understand NIST’s goals, and I see the value of CFL’s, but we should call it as it is. Repurposing? More like Dispersing.

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