How To Identify Mercury Thermometers in Your Lab

Mercury thermometer

When suitable and effective alternatives are available, we recommend discontinuing the use of mercury thermometers. To aid researchers in this effort, EHSO is exchanging mercury thermometers in your lab for safe, blue alcohol filled thermometers. Participation is easy! Complete the exchange request e-form, available at

Safe, effective alternative thermometer

The EPA has some questions you can ask to help identify mercury thermometers in your lab:

  • Is the liquid in the thermometer any color other than silver? Then it is most likely alcohol.
  • Is it silver? Then it may be mercury or possibly a non-mercury substance.

Remember, mercury is a neurotoxin. The effects of mercury exposure can be very severe, subtle, or may not occur at all. If a mercury thermometer breaks or you find a broken mercury thermometer, you must contact the EHSO Spill Team at 404-727-2888.


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