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CAS Registry No.: 7439-97-6
Other Names: Liquid silver; Mercury metal; Quick silver
Main Uses: Manufacture of other chemicals (chlorine, caustic soda); in electronic components.
Appearance: Silver - white free flowing liquid.
Canadian TDG: UN2809
D1A - Very Toxic; D2A - Very Toxic (Chronic toxicity; Teratogenicity/embryotoxicity); E - Corrosive
Emergency Overview: Silver - white free flowing liquid. Odourless. Will not burn. Corrosive to some metals. VERY TOXIC. Fatal if inhaled. May cause damage to nervous system, kidneys. SUSPECT TERATOGEN/EMBRYOTOXIN. Suspected of damaging the unborn child, May elicit an allergic skin reaction in some people.
Main Routes of Exposure: Inhalation; skin contact; skin absorption; eye contact.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Group 3 - Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.
American Conference for Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH): A4 - Not classifiable as a human carcinogen.
Inhalation: Take precautions to ensure your own safety before attempting rescue (e.g. wear appropriate protective equipment). Move victim to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, trained personnel should administer emergency oxygen. DO NOT allow victim to move about unnecessarily. Symptoms of pulmonary edema may be delayed. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should begin artificial respiration (AR). If the heart has stopped, trained personnel should start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or automated external defibrillation (AED). Avoid mouth-to-mouth contact by using mouth guards or shields. Immediately call a Poison Centre or doctor. Treatment is urgently required. Transport to a hospital.
Skin Contact: Avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective clothing if necessary. Quickly take off contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods (e.g. watchbands, belts). Quickly and gently blot or brush away excess chemical. Wash gently and thoroughly with lukewarm, gently flowing water and non-abrasive soap for 5 minutes. Call a Poison Centre or doctor. Thoroughly clean clothing, shoes and leather goods before reuse or dispose of safely.
Eye Contact: Avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective gloves if necessary. Quickly and gently blot or brush chemical off the face. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes, while holding the eyelid(s) open. If irritation or pain persists, see a doctor.
Ingestion: Have victim rinse mouth with water. Immediately call a Poison Centre or doctor.
First Aid Comments: If exposed or concerned, see a doctor for medical advice. Some of the first aid procedures recommended here require advanced first aid training. All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the chemical and its conditions of use in the workplace.
Note to Physicians: Some jurisdictions specifically regulate mercury and require a complete medical surveillance program. Specific information should be sought from the appropriate government agency in your jurisdiction.
Flammable Properties: Does not burn.
Suitable Extinguishing Media: Not combustible. Use extinguishing agent suitable for surrounding fire.
Specific Hazards Arising from the Chemical: Under fire conditions, very toxic mercury vapour and mercuric oxide will be released.
Personal Precautions: Keep unnecessary and unprotected personnel out of spill area. Use personal protective equipment as required. Ventilate area.
Methods for Containment and Clean-up: Do not touch spilled material. Dike spilled product to prevent runoff. Stop or reduce leak if safe to do so. Small spills or leaks: use material or equipment specific for mercury. Large spills or leaks: contact emergency services and manufacturer/supplier for advice.
Handling: Before handling, it is important that all engineering controls are operating and that protective equipment requirements and personal hygiene measures are being followed. Only trained personnel should work with this product. Immediately report leaks, spills or failures of the safety equipment (e.g. ventilation system). Avoid ALL unprotected contact with this product or with contaminated equipment/surfaces. Avoid generating vapours or mists. Avoid heating that will increase the amount of vapours. Prevent accidental contact with incompatible chemicals. If product is transferred to another container, ensure new container is suitable for the product. Keep containers tightly closed when not in use or empty. Never reuse empty containers, even if they appear to be clean.
Storage: Store in an area that is: cool, dry, temperature-controlled, out of direct sunlight and away from heat and ignition sources, separate from incompatible materials. Avoid bulk storage indoors. Store in the original, labelled, shipping container. Empty containers may contain hazardous residue. Store separately. Keep closed. Do not handle swollen drums. Get expert advice.
ACGIH® TLV® - TWA: 0.025 mg/m3 A4 Skin BEI®
Exposure Guideline Comments: TLV® = Threshold Limit Value. TWA = Time-Weighted Average. A4 = Not classifiable as a human carcinogen. BEI® = Biological Exposure Index.
NOTE: In many (but not all) Canadian jurisdictions, the exposure limits are similar to the ACGIH® TLVs®. Since legislation varies by jurisdiction, contact your local jurisdiction for exact details. A list is available in the OSH Answers on Canadian Governmental Occupational Health & Safety Departments.
A list of which acts and regulations that cover exposure limits to chemical and biological agents is available on our website. Please note that while you can see the list of legislation for free, you will need a subscription to view the actual documentation.
Engineering Controls: Use a local exhaust ventilation and enclosure, if necessary, to control amount in the air. It may be necessary to use stringent control measures such as process enclosure to prevent product release into the workplace. Use a ventilation system separate from other exhaust ventilation systems. Filter the contaminated air before it is directly exhausted to the outside.
Eye/Face Protection: Wear chemical safety goggles. A face shield (with safety goggles) may also be necessary.
Skin Protection: Wear chemical protective clothing e.g. gloves, aprons, boots. In some operations, it may be necessary to wear a chemical protective, full-body encapsulating suit and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Suitable materials include: butyl rubber, natural rubber, neoprene rubber, nitrile rubber, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Viton®, Viton®/butyl rubber, Silver Shield® - PE/EVAL/PE, Tychem® BR/LV, Tychem® Responder® CSM, Tychem® TK. Recommendations are NOT valid for very thin natural rubber, neoprene rubber, nitrile rubber, and PVC gloves (0.3 mm or less).
Up to 1 mg/m3:
(APF = 10) Any chemical cartridge respirator with cartridge(s) providing protection against mercury compounds (except (organo) alkyls)*; or Any supplied-air respirator.
* End of service life indicator (ESLI) required.
APF = Assigned Protection Factor
Recommendations apply only to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators. Refer to the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards for more information.
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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.