Products Containing Mercury

Mercury is a special metal. It is the only metal that exists in a liquid state at room temperature. For health and safety reasons, mercury has been removed from many of the products we bring into our homes. But, it can still be found in some common products and should be treated as household hazardous waste.

Commonly used products include:

  • compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs)
  • thermostats
  • thermometers
  • barometers
  • blood pressure devices
  • chemistry sets

Why it matters

Although it’s a naturally occurring element, mercury can be extremely dangerous if consumed or inhaled. Both liquid and vapour forms are harmful to your health and the environment. Mercury vapour may be devoid of odour, colour and taste, but it’s full of poison.

If it finds its way into a water source, mercury can lead to serious contamination that can have an adverse effect on people, animals and the environment. Once in the body, it can cause problems in nervous, digestive and immune systems, cause visual or hearing impairment, and damage internal organs.

What you can do

1. Choose safer alternatives

There are options! Safer alternatives for light bulbs, thermometers and thermostats exist that are not only better for the environment but also safer for you and your family.

  • Consider switching to LED bulbs – these do not contain mercury. Plus, they last longer and use less energy – saving you money in the long run!
  • Digital thermometers and thermostats offer a great high-tech and mercury-free solution.

2. Store it safely

Not ready to part? Spent light bulbs and other products containing mercury should be stored in a safe location until you are ready for disposal. If you break an item that contains mercury, be sure to carefully clean the area and store the mercury in a glass jar.

3. Dispose of it properly 

When products containing mercury are not disposed of properly, the mercury can escape and threaten the health and safety of your family, sanitation workers and ecosystems. Regional waste management authorities offer drop-offs and collection events that accept products containing mercury as well as other hazardous products from your home. Find your nearest drop-off site.