Please HELP! My kids broke a thermometer! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-08-2011, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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One of my kids pulled out a candy thermometer out of the kitchen drawer yesterday. I didn't know they could get up to the top drawer and that was the ONLY one without a lock on it. Anyways, I found them with it and put it back in the drawer. Tonight as I was cleaning up their toys I found parts of the glass underneath one of their toys!!! I didn't realize it was broken when I put it back in the drawer. My husband and I are panicking especially since it's been a whole day that it broke and the mercury could be anywhere. We called poison control and he basically said look for the mercury which we've been doing but cannot find it. He told us to call the State Health Dept. but they are closed and it's 9:30. So, I'm going to call them in the morning to see what we can do but in the meantime we're not sure what we should do. It's a carpeted area so that makes it even more complicated. I think we'll probably corner the area off until we get some advice so the kids can't go over there but I have never dealt with something like this. PLEASE ADVISE!!!

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#2 of 10 Old 02-08-2011, 07:47 PM
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My DD broke a mercury thermometer when she was about 15 months old.  I called the fire department and they told me to sweep it up and throw it in the garbage.  It was on a hardwood floor...  Anyway, they didn't seem to think it was a big deal (not sure I agreed).  So...I suppose you could just vacuum the carpet

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#3 of 10 Old 02-08-2011, 07:59 PM
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Sorry, I have no idea what to do with missing mercury :( 


But how old is the thermometer?  Are you sure it is mercury?  Most thermometers use alcohol or other liquids instead of mercury these days.  

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#4 of 10 Old 02-08-2011, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies so far. I've been doing some digging around on the internet and it looks like the particular thermometer was "spirit filled". So I'm pretty sure there was no mercury involved. Does anybody else know much about his? I am going to keep looking and I contacted the company who makes the therm. to see if they have anything to say about it. Caedmyn, from what I've been reading the general consensus seems to be to NOT vacuum it up if it's on carpet. I'm feeling a lot better about the situation now but will keep you posted. Hopefully this can help others in the future as well.

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#5 of 10 Old 02-08-2011, 08:31 PM
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Unless your thermometer was really old it shouldn't have contained mercury at all.  As you know, mercury is highly toxic, and since there are other things that work in thermometers and serious concerns about environmental impacts of breakage, most manufacturers no longer use it.  If the liquid was red, it was definitely not mercury. 

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#6 of 10 Old 02-09-2011, 04:42 AM
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If it makes you feel any better, decades ago when my Dad was young, my grandma used to let him play with mercury all the time. My Dad grew up to be a chemist and seems fine on typical american standards.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-09-2011, 06:16 AM
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My candy thermometer is relatively old (I'm thinking at least 10 years?) and it is not mercury. Do you remember if the thermometer had red stuff inside of it? That is what my candy thermometer has. I guess that is the "spirit" filling, which must be alcohol or something like that.

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#8 of 10 Old 02-11-2011, 08:42 AM
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My dad was a doctor and used to bring home mercury to let us play with.  We thought it was a blast.  All three of us turned out fine.  While I wouldn't recommend playing with mercury, I'd say that you've done everything you can and you all will be okay.  I know it must be scary.  We try to do so much to protect our children, and rightly so--that's what we are here for...but give yourself a break on this one.

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#9 of 10 Old 02-14-2011, 07:28 PM
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I remember playing with mercury in school.  It was really fun.  I'm 100% fine :)

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#10 of 10 Old 02-15-2011, 06:50 AM
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I remember a mercury  thermometer breaking when I was in Chemistry in HS. That was in the last 90's. Our teacher was paniced but strong. She swept it up and then I am not sure. But that stuff is neat. Not that my kids will ever play with it, but I do think it is neat.

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