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IMPROVED MERCURY VAPOR DETECTION EQUIPMENT More precise instrumentation results in cleaner laboratories and a safer environment. The Office of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) is often called to provide accurate detection of mercury vapor in the air. This is done during clean-up after a mercury spill in a lab that accidentally releases mercury to the environment. It is also done during renovations or demolition of antiquated laboratory space since mercury is often a contaminant found in plumbing, furniture and flooring in these spaces.

Mercury is cleaned up and removed to the extent possible to avoid contamination of the building and/or waste stream. Mercury vapor detection instruments are used to assess the effectiveness of the clean-up. These releases impact both the interior air quality of campus buildings and the outdoor environment extending to the sewer discharge that eventually leads to the bay and the air we breathe.

In the last 24 months, EH&S’ spill response team responded to at least 13 mercury spills on campus.

For the last 15 years, EH&S has relied on a type of mercury detector that, while adequate, does not always give accurate results, provide consistently reliable service, quickly goes out of calibration and requires frequent factory repairs.

New technology has been developed and implemented in the form of the MVI Mercury Detector from Service Technologies Inc. It is a solid tool that provides more accuracy when mercury vapor detection work is performed. It is also 10 times more sensitive in detecting mercury. This accuracy and sensitivity will help ensure that discharges to the sewer and debris going to landfills are clean with a higher degree of confidence. Additionally, it provides, to a higher degree of certainty, readings of mercury levels in air during laboratory renovations and after mercury spills leading to cleaner indoor and, of course, outdoor air for all after clean-ups and renovations are done. Interns from the School of Public Health and EH&S personnel have used the instrument across campus in various projects.

Environment, Health & Safety


Mercury Vapor Detectection Equipment- 2011 TGIF Project