Mercury-Schools: OperationsPrint Friendly Page
In many ways a school is like a small community, with a variety of activities ranging from printing services to food service.
The key locations where mercury is most likely to be found are in science and chemistry labs, heating and ventilation equipment, and the nurse�s office.
In science labs, pure mercury, mercury compounds and elemental thermometers can be found.
Although mercury and mercury compounds are not to be used in the classroom anymore, they may be stored in cabinets or closets.
Mercury thermometers are used widely in science, chemistry, biology, and physics classes.
Heating and ventilation equipment also often contain mercury.
Thermostats are used to control the temperature in buildings.
Approximately 80% of thermostats today contain mercury.
Many �silent� light switches contain mercury. Each fluorescent tube in overhead lighting fixtures contains a minute amount of mercury. However, schools often use a large number of these fluorescent bulbs throughout the building, so the total amount of mercury in a building can be significant.
Mercury can also be found in the nurse�s office. Mercury thermometers, sphygmomanometer, nasal spray, and contact lens solution may contain mercury. Mercury thermometers contain mercury and sphygmomanometers, blood pressure measuring devices, can contain up to several pounds of mercury. Nasal spray and contact lens solution also may contain thimerosal (an ingredient that has mercury in it), phenylmercuric acetate, or phenylmercuric nitrate.