Mercury Mercury Spills and Removal

How Mercury Exposure Impacts You and Your Body

While long-term exposure to elemental mercury can be extremely dangerous, for some segments of the population, it can actually be lethal. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry publishes information on the dangers and toxicity levels of mercury exposure. 

What Is the ATSDR?

ATSDR is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The organization takes responsive public health actions and provides trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances.

Mercury can be extremely hard to see.


According to the ATSDR, the simplest form of mercury is metallic or liquid mercury. The element is used in a number of products sold commercially, as well as in thermometers, other medical devices and industrial processes. While this form of mercury is not readily absorbed into the human body by touch or through the digestive tract, it vaporizes at room temperatures. Inhalation of these vapors can be harmful to your health. If spilled in the home, metallic mercury can pose a danger to you and your family if not properly cleaned up and removed.

Mercury Remains Prevalent in the Environment

Mercury has been found in at least 714 of 1,467 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Also known as the Superfund, the National Priorities List (NPL) contains the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites throughout the U.S. and its territories. The NPL lists sites after 1) completing a Hazard Ranking System (HRS) screening and 2) soliciting and addressing public comments about the proposed site.

Exposure to mercury occurs from breathing contaminated air or ingesting contaminated water and food. At high levels, mercury may damage the brain, kidneys and developing fetus. Other organs are also impacted by exposure to mercury. Here’s a list of some of the organs most severely impacted by mercury exposure:


How Mercury Impacts the Brain

  • Trouble remembering things
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in mood, like feeling cranky, nervous, tired, or shy
  • Numbness in the hands and feet
  • Trembling (shaking)
  • Problems with muscle coordination (tripping, dropping things, falling down)

How Mercury Impacts the Mouth

  • Tasting metal
  • Swollen gums
  • Drooling

How Mercury Impacts the Lungs

  • Cough
  • Pain when breathing
  • Feeling out of breath
  • Damage to the lungs

How Mercury Impacts the Stomach & Intestines

  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Not feeling hungry

How Mercury Impacts the Skin

  • Red, itchy rashes
  • Peeling hands and feet

How Mercury Impacts Reproductive System

  • Mercury poisoning is especially dangerous for an unborn baby (fetus)

Rader Environmental can assist you in the proper handling, packaging, recycling, or lab pack disposal of mercury. We are experienced in the use of specialized mercury-cleanup testing instruments and cleanup equipment to help you address any spills.

Your health and safety is our top priority, so we take immediate measures to limit your exposure to this toxic substance.

Contact Rader today to remove mercury from your facility. 

Environmental Solutions Green Living Hazardous Waste Removal

Putnam County Hosts Household Hazardous Waste Day

Rader Environmental assisted residents of Putnam County in removing household hazardous waste from residences on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. The Putman County Solid Waste District and the Putnam County Sherriff’s Office sponsored the annual event, which removes latex and oil-based paint, lightbulbs, batteries, medications and other hazardous materials from Putnam County residences. Rader Environmental recycles approximately 90% of the waste it receives from local residents.

Below is the full story, which originally appeared on Hometown Stations of Lima, OH.

Watch Household Hazardous Waste Video

Coronavirus Environmental Solutions Green Living Sustainability

Rader Launches Sustainable, Green-Living Solutions

Facing a slowdown from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Rader Environmental’s president Joe W. Rader asked his employees to think of new ways to work with – and help – the Findlay, OH, community, and the team came up with a commitment to providing sustainable, green-living solutions and micro-homesteading services to local residents. During these challenging times, we believe this is our responsibility as stewards of the environment and as American citizens. We also hope to bring some much-needed joy to the lives of our neighbors, friends and family members who are required to shelter-in-place for the next month or longer. 

Rader gardening
Some of the sustainable, green-living solutions we can provide include creating vegetable gardens, flower gardens or even building chicken coops so people can collect fresh eggs. We also offer an array of micro-homesteading services/outdoor beautification services including landscaping, fence-repair work, lawn-mowing, deck-building and refinishing and much more!

Micro-homesteading will help you become more self-sufficient by giving you the tools to grow your own food, conserve natural resources and decrease your dependency on the global food supply chain. Our goal as a company is to help each other thrive, remain sustainable and conserve our precious resources in the face of ongoing uncertainty. 

Families carrots

Sustainable, Green-Living Solutions Available  

In addition to having more than three decades of experience as a chemist and hazardous waste management professional, Rader started his career providing sustainability solutions to Northwest Ohio residents. A former farmer, landscape artist, “budding” horticulturist (pun intended) and avid gardener, he’s putting a lifetime of skills to use.

peas

To make sure we’re fully compliant when outdoors, we follow strict guidelines that even surpass those established by the Centers for Disease Control. Our staff has been trained by a leading Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), so we are innovative in our approach to cleaning and disinfecting our work areas. The crew always practice social distancing of 12 feet or more at all times. We use OSHA-approved personal protection equipment (PPE) to protect you, your family and our workers. Finally, we always ride solo in our trucks and other vehicles. 

baby goat

So, whether we are digging a garden for you or draining a ditch, check out the lists below to see how we can help.

Here are our sustainable-living solutions/micro-homesteading services: 

  • Landscaping 
  • Vegetable gardens
  • Flower gardens 
  • Raised-bed gardening 
  • Gray-water irrigation systems
  • Potting sheds
  • Chicken coops
  • Owl boxes
  • Much more

sunflower
Here are the new outdoor beautification services we offer: 

  • Landscaping 
  • Lawn-mowing 
  • Weeding 
  • Flower bed/garden bed cleanup and preparation for the growing season
  • Nursery items: seeds, seedlings, perennials, annuals 
  • Deck-building and refinishing
  • Fence work, painting and repair 
  • Brick and paver work
  • Water features and coy ponds 
  • Driveway sealing
  • Garage-floor finishing 
  • Much more

Coronavirus Cleaning Solutions 

In addition to providing sustainable, green-living and outdoor beautification solutions for the entire family, we are also available to help decontaminate facilities, offices, laboratories, universities, schools, apartment buildings, warehouses or any property that’s been exposed to the coronavirus. As a team trained in emergency response, we can rapidly mobilize quickly to your location virtually anywhere in the Midwest. 

Rader utilizes EPA-registered and approved disinfectants to remove coronavirus contamination from your site and adheres to the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Dedicated to Helping Industries  

In addition to these new sustainability service lines, we continue to provide the hazardous waste management solutions our clients have come to trust for over 30 years. We are working without interruption as essential employees to provide R&D labs, universities, healthcare facilities and other public and private companies solutions to all of their chemical waste, hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste needs. 

Industry drums

Providing Mercury Abatement Services 

As world-renowned experts in mercury spill remediation, removal and disposal, we are also still helping industries and residents solve their mercury abatement challenges. Rader has cleaned and remediated major sailing vessels in the Great Lakes and commercial airlines in Africa and the Middle East, as well as facilities in our own backyards here in Northwest Ohio. 

It’s now time for us to lend a helping hand to our neighbors, residents and businesses during these unprecedented times.

Contact Rader Environmental Services today if you’re interested in any of our newly launched sustainable, green-living or micro-homesteading solutions.

Coronavirus Hazardous Waste Removal Manufacturing

Dealing with the COVID-19 Coronavirus in the Workplace

During these challenging times filled with so much negative news, we want to provide some helpful tips on dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus in the workplace.

For starters, we encourage all of our clients and friends to take good care of themselves. If you exhibit symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus, follow the protocol outlined by the (CDC). The CDC advises that you stay home, except to receive medical care. If you are mildly ill with COVID-19, you should self-isolate at home. Further limit your exposure by avoiding public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing services. 

The World Health Organization has also released a set of guidelines on how to protect yourself from contracting the coronavirus. The organization even provides tips for traveling, although not recommended, during this pandemic.

20 Steps to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus in the Workplace 

While taking care of yourself should be a top priority, here are 20 actionable tips to get through the coronavirus in the workplace: 

  1. Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth 
  3. Cough or sneeze into your elbow 
  4. Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from people and crowds of under 100, or avoid congregating in general
  5. In your office and workspace, keep hand sanitizers or sanitizing wipes out in the open so people remember to use them 
  6. Use all cleaning and disinfectant products as directed on the back of the bottle or container in order to kill the virus
  7. Wipe down work areas and surfaces frequently with a disinfectant
  8. Ask guests to wash their hands when they come into your workplace 
  9. For necessary meetings, harness technology like Google Hangouts or a free, on-demand video meeting service 
  10. Postpone non-essential travel plans for business meetings, client acquisitions, etc. 
  11. Work remotely as much as possible
  12. Work split shifts or flexible hours if your employer allows it 
  13. Keep hand sanitizers or wipes near your doors as doorknobs are filled with germs 
  14. Always wear the prescribed personal protective equipment (PPE) for any job you are doing, including nitrile or latex gloves 
  15. Keep nitrile gloves in your vehicle for pumping gas since the handles are filled with germs and bacteria 
  16. Keep wipes and/or sanitizer in your car so you can wipe down door handles, dashboard, steering wheel, gear stick and any other places that you touch frequently 
  17. Wipe down your cell phone often with a disinfectant that contains at least 70% isopropyl alcohol
  18. Handle cash as infrequently as possible by using a credit card or conducting transactions online 
  19.  Wipe down your credit card(s) with a disinfecting wipe after each use 
  20.  When you accept a package from a delivery person, wipe down the box while wearing nitrile or latex gloves 

factory worker

No Interruption in Service at Rader

Rader Environmental Services will continue to operate without an interruption in service. As of now, we don’t anticipate a slowdown in our ability to respond to the needs of our clients. We are here to serve your hazardous material removal, disposal and safety needs.

Contact us today if you have any questions about dealing with the coronavirus in your workplace.

Hazardous Waste Removal Industrial Waste Industry PFAS

What’s All the “PFAS” About?

If you have not yet heard of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) it’s time to get up to speed. PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” are a broad family of chemicals that have a strong persistence in the environment. Aptly nicknamed, these substances will remain in the environment forever, never to biodegrade. These toxic chemicals are used in a variety of industries and products. The most common PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS). These chemicals are so potent that acceptable exposure levels are measured in parts per trillion. 

To help you understand more about these potent chemicals, where they are found, and how they can be removed from your environment, Rader Environmental Services has compiled a list of commonly asked questions and responses about PFAS.

Question: Where can one find PFAS?

Answer: Nearly 400 contamination sites have been identified in the United States alone. The PFAS research team at Northeastern University has created a PFAS Contamination Site Tracker listing contamination sites across the United States, along with information about the sites. More than half of the sites are military bases. As a result, the U.S. Department of Defense has spotlighted the need to find solutions to this contamination problem.

The primary source of contamination seems to be from the release of firefighting foam, which is responsible for approximately 69% of all contamination sites currently identified by Northeastern University. The next largest source is manufacturing facilities where metal and plastic plating occurred, accounting for approximately 6% of the contamination sites. Other sources of contamination include carpet and fabric coating manufacturers, leather tanneries and paper-product manufacturers. DuPont and 3M production sources combined accounted for roughly 4% of the contamination sources.

Q: What are the health effects, and how are people exposed?

A: A recent study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates more than 60 million U.S. residents have been exposed to unacceptable levels of these toxic substances. Some experts suspect the number of exposed persons to be even higher.

Studies on the health effects of PFAS are limited and scientists are still learning about the effects of overexposure. However, some studies indicate that they may interfere with the body’s hormones, cholesterol levels and immune system. It could also increase the risk of developing cancer.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), exposure to PFAS can occur in several ways, including:

  • Drinking PFAS-contaminated municipal or well water
  • Eating food from contaminated water or soil
  • Eating food packaged in material that contains PFAS
  • Ingestion of contaminated dust
  • Using PFAS-containing products

drinking water

While research suggests that exposure to PFAs from consumer products is relatively low, these chemicals can be found in many commonly used products, including:

  • Grease-resistant paper, fast-food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes and candy wrappers
  • Non-stick cookware
  • Stain-resistant coatings used on carpets, upholstery and other fabrics
  • Water-resistant clothing
  • Cleaning products
  • Personal care products (shampoo, dental floss) and cosmetics (nail polish, eye makeup)

Although PFAS has been banned in many U.S. manufacturing processes, components manufactured abroad or regenerated using recycled materials may contain these chemicals. Exposure to babies can occur during pregnancy and breastfeeding if the mother has been exposed to PFAS. Individuals directly involved in PFAS manufacturing can also be exposed via inhalation, accidental ingestion or skin contact.

Q: What legislative and regulatory actions are being taken to address this problem?

Timeline 

A: In December 2019, 14 new PFAS were added to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) monitoring and reporting program as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. Regulated businesses will be required to monitor these substances, and begin annual reporting by July 1, 2021. The EPA is also considering adding yet additional PFAS to the list of toxic chemicals subject to TRI reporting. The public comment period on the proposed additions closed on February 3.

On January 13, 2020, the House of Representatives approved the PFAS Action Act of 2019 (H.R. 535). If passed, the act would require the EPA to designate certain PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) as hazardous substances within one year, and possibly all of these chemicals within five years. However, H.R. 535 is likely to face significant hurdles in the Senate.

In July 2019, 22 state attorneys general sent a letter to Congress urging that contamination be addressed. Rep. Frank Pallone, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has prioritized PFAS for investigation this year.

PFAS laws

In February 2019, the EPA issued a federal PFAS Action Plan to address drinking water, monitoring and research activities, enforcement, cleanup, risk communications, and toxic evaluations. Under the plan, the EPA has issued “lifetime health advisory” standards of 70 parts per trillion, measured in nanograms per liter (ng/l) for both PFOA and PFOS. Fulfilling part of its plan, the EPA released PFAS groundwater guidance for federal clean-up programs.

Q: What’s happening on the state level?

A: Individual states are also taking action to regulate these substances. The Ohio EPA issued it’s own PFAS Action Plan for Drinking Water in December 2019. The Ohio plan calls for a comprehensive sampling of 1,500 public water systems for contamination by the end of 2020. The results of the effort will provide significant information about the extent of PFAS in public water systems and will guide potential remediation actions. Other states including New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Delaware, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, and Texas have started regulating PFAS in drinking water, groundwater, and consumer products.

Q: What legal actions are taking place in response to contamination?

A: We have already seen a number of legal actions in the United States related to contamination. In Giovanni v. United States Department of the Navy, brought under Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Site Cleanup Act (HSCA), the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that the HSCA did not regulate either PFOS or PFOA. Pennsylvania state regulators are currently considering legislation to provide relief to individuals exposed to these chemicals.

In a recent consent decree filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. agreed to pay up to $69.5 million in connection to contamination found in drinking water in Michigan’s townships of Plainfield and Algoma.

There have also been international legal proceedings such as the planned class action of 500 landowners against the Australian Federal Government in connection with PFAS-containing firefighting foam chemicals used at RAAF Pearce airbase.


Outlook: Is PFAS here to stay?

Outlook

Due to their strong chemical makeup and inability to biodegrade, the PFAS debate will remain front and center with environmentalists, the EPA, the Department of Defense and myriad state legislatures. As legislative action continues, we will see stricter standards for shipping, handling and disposing of PFAS by the EPA, the Department of Transportation, state agencies and hazardous waste disposal facilities nationwide. 

If you have other questions about PFAS or would like to know how to remove it from your workplace, contact Rader Environmental Services.

hazardous waste disposal Hazardous Waste Removal Mercury Mercury Spills and Removal

Disturbed Mercury: Why a Mercury Spill Is So Toxic

Mercury is a heavy, silver-colored element used in a variety of industries. While mercury has many uses, it should always be handled and transported safely if spilled. Disturbed mercury is especially dangerous because of the hazardous vapors it releases into the environment. If you don’t know how to handle and transport mercury properly, there could be toxic – or even fatal – consequences.

Watch This Video: Mercury – The Hazard You Don’t See


Disturbed mercury

Courtesy of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 


Undisturbed, contained mercury is like a hornets’ nest tucked underneath a doorway that rarely sees the light of day. But that hornets’ nest has the potential to wreak havoc on its surroundings if disturbed or poked. Once disturbed, a swarm of angry, stinging hornets is headed your way! The same holds true for disturbed mercury: It can wreak havoc on its surroundings by releasing odorless and colorless vapors that are harmful when inhaled.

DOT Compliance EPA Hazardous Waste Removal Lab Packs

What Is a Lab Pack?

A “lab pack” is an accumulation of unwanted or obsolete chemicals that range in size from less than 2 ml to 5 gallons and placed in approved containers by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for safe shipping. An absorbent material, such as vermiculite, must be placed around the contents in each container. These containers vary in size from 5 gallons to 55-gallon drums. 

Two primary federal agenciesthe DOT and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)oversee transportation, shipping, and disposal of unwanted or obsolete chemicals. Sometimes these chemicals are considered to be hazardous waste, while other times they can be non-hazardous. 

Lab packing is a very effective way for companies, schools, colleges, and universities to remove unwanted or obsolete chemicals.


How to Create a Lab Pack 

First, a chemist begins the lab pack disposal process by identifying, categorizing, and segregating each chemical based on DOT and EPA requirements, chemical characteristics and disposal facility guidelines. Each disposal company has its own unique requirements for shipping and handling chemical waste, so be sure you’re following their guidelines as well. 

Some companies, schools or universities may have significant amounts of unwanted chemicals on site. But they can’t all be packed in a FedEx box and shipped together. Mixing non-compatible chemicals into a lab pack container can impact the health and safety of anyone who comes into contact with the container. In fact, combining chemicals that react with one another could have deadly consequences.


The Waste Stream Combinations Number in the Thousands

Before being shipped offsite, a chemist should separate each chemical, according to DOT regulations. The chemicals need to be organized based on their 1) hazard class, packing group, and 3) proper shipping name.

For instance, most flammable liquids can be packed into one container, while oxidizers must be packed in a separate lab pack. There are more types of waste streams than just flammable liquids and oxidizers, however. The DOT has nine shipping classes (placards pictured below), but there are over 2,500 hazardous materials that can be transported for disposal!

 

hazardous materials placards

A chemist or hazmat expert must have knowledge of each of the chemical’s constituents in order to properly assemble a lab pack that complies with DOT regulations, EPA requirements and disposal company guidelines. 

Separating Chemicals into Lab Packs Can Be Tedious

Creating a compliant lab pack isn’t an easy process: It can often be complex. After each chemical is separated into packs based on their hazard level, toxicity, DOT requirements, EPA requirements, and disposal facility requirements, a hazardous materials expert begins packing the substances into DOT-conforming containers for that particular hazard class. These can include cardboard, metal or poly containers. Then, the lab pack expert carefully places each chemical into the container, surrounded by an ample amount of absorbent.


How to Properly Dispose of Lab-Packed Chemicals 

Now it’s time to dispose of these lab packs. Each one of the containers must be labeled with specific information required by DOT, the EPA, and the disposal facility; manifested, and transported by a licensed hazardous waste transporter.

Once the disposal facility receives the lab packs, they properly manage the destruction of the chemicals within the containers. Some of these substances can be recycled for fuel blending, while others are neutralized, incinerated, landfilled or treated.

As often as possible, Rader aims to facilitate the recycling of these substances for re-use into other chemicals or products. 

Contact Rader Environmental Services to see how we can help remove your obsolete or unwanted chemicals. 

Hazardous Waste Removal Lab Packs and Disposal

Hazardous Waste You Should Remove to Ensure Compliance

Rader Environmental Services has extensive hazardous waste management experience. For over 30 years, we have conducted waste characterization, environmental auditing and production-process waste analysis for companies throughout Ohio and across the Midwest. 

From on-site packaging, labeling and manifesting hazardous waste to selecting proper facilities for even the most difficult waste streams, Rader’s system incorporates all facets of successful waste management.

Rader Environmental Services employs chemists and specialized technicians to sample, analyze and evaluate both hazardous and non-hazardous waste, and to determine the most suitable means and location for disposal.

Relationships with Disposal Facilities Result in Greater Efficiencies

Our strong relationships with a variety of waste disposal, treatment and recycling facilities, combined with our decades of experience in treating, abating and removing hazardous chemicals from workplace settings, give you a market advantage. They result in the most competitive pricing for the disposal of your hazardous waste and provide your organization with the highest level of efficiency. 

Armed with this knowledge and solid working relationships with these facilities, we can implement a program quickly and efficiently. We can oversee permits, documentation, and scheduling to result in complete compliance with all federal, state and local regulations.

With Rader’s flexible structure for service selection, a client or consultant can utilize any or all of our waste management services to custom design a waste management program. Here are a few materials that we dispose of and handle:

  • High-hazard chemicals: shock-sensitive, inhalation hazards
  • Universal waste  
  • Latex and oil-based paints 
  • Mercury waste
  • Elemental mercury
  • Cannabis and hemp waste 
  • Aerosol cans
  • LED batteries 
  • Catalysts
  • Contaminated soils
  • Coolants
  • Corrosive waste
  • Dioxins
  • Drummed waste
  • Fluorescent bulb recovery
  • Non-regulated industrial waste
  • Oil filters
  • Organic contaminated waste
  • Cyanide wastes
  • PCB disposal
  • PCB transformers
  • Reactive/explosive management
  • Used oil

Contact Rader Environmental Services today to ensure your hazardous waste is properly disposed of and that your facility is clean and compliant! 

 

Mercury

Rader’s Mercury Spill Cleanup Services Are World-Renowned

Rader has specialized in mercury removal and mercury spill cleanups for over 30 years. Our approach to mercury decontamination is the result of a long-standing interest in the science of elemental mercury. Depending on conditions, most mercury spills can be cleaned up with a mercury recovery vacuum.

Before determining how to clean up a mercury spill at your facility, a  hazardous materials expert will visit your site with a Lumex 915 Plus Mercury Vapor Analyzer to determine the most effective way to decontaminate and remove elemental mercury from your facility.

During the actual mercury removal phase of a project, Rader’s team of workers wear respirators equipped with mercury vapor cartridges and standard Level C Protection. All workers have both Hazardous Materials Worker Training and Mercury Awareness Training. In addition, all workers participate in a medical evaluation program.  

Handling Microscopic Mercury Spills

In most cases, mercury can be remediated with a mercury recovery vacuum. But, this process could still leave behind microscopic and/or embedded mercury contamination. Mercury vapor continues to be released if any elemental mercury remains after the visible (unmagnified) mercury spill cleanup is completed. Rader understands this and has developed effective mercury spill cleanup methods that effectively clean both visible and microscopic mercury molecules. 

Providing Proprietary Solutions to Mercury Spills

Chemists at Rader recognized in the early days of the company that all commercially available mercury vapor reduction compounds are basically suppressants that stop the release of mercury vapor. However, the suppressing effects may not last long and the only permanent solution may be to completely remove all microscopic traces of mercury.

With that in mind, we developed a procedure to remove elemental mercury, rendering suppressants obsolete. Key Clean and Rader Reducer are the chemicals that Rader developed to achieve this. These substances work by suspending the microscopic elemental mercury in a solution so that it can be collected using either a mercury vacuum, cloth rags or other media depending on the surface to be cleaned.

Mercury cleanup experts

Key Clean and Rader Reducer, although integral to the process, cannot permanently remove elemental mercury. Knowledge of the substrate and its conditions are also important. Rader has the knowledge to recognize and address these conditions, allowing Rader’s solutions to work.

Mercury spills occur in many places and on many different surfaces. When elemental mercury droplets shatter, they adhere to surfaces both horizontal and vertical. They also make their way into cracks, crevices and anything else slightly porous. Cleaning spilled mercury from rough or smooth concrete is different than cleaning it from floor tile or steel. At the same time, floor tile or steel is different than cleaning mercury from hardwood floors. 

Handling Mercury Spills in Industrial Settings 

If the spill has occurred in an industrial setting and the contaminated surfaces are full of grease and grime, it may be necessary to address these contaminants at the same time the mercury is addressed. In addition to removing elemental mercury, Rader products don’t harm most surfaces, unlike the commercially available chemicals which may react with different metals and can be corrosive. Rader’s chemicals are even safe for aluminum and have been successfully used to decontaminate commercial aircraft.

Removing Mercury from Personal Belongings

Many times, a mercury spill will contaminate personal belongings that cannot be replaced. However, the Rader team has devised many different techniques to decontaminate and save your personal belongings. Certain porous items, however, such as shoes, carpeting, etc., are not easily cleaned. It is possible to launder some clothing items using our proprietary chemicals so that they can be safely worn again. Sometimes, it may be more prudent to replace items rather than decontaminate them. Our team has the experience to know the difference, thereby saving you time and money.

Handling Mercury Spills at Superfund Sites  

In very large mercury spills/contamination situations, Rader offers a competitive advantage with its knowledge of laboratory analysis, waste characterization and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This institutional knowledge, combined with Rader’s proprietary chemicals and its vast mercury cleanup experience, demonstrates that the Rader Mercury Removal Method is one of the most effective in the hazardous waste disposal industry.

Contact Rader Environmental for your no-obligation mercury spill quote.

hazardous waste disposal Mercury

5 Ways to Protect Your Workers from a Mercury Spill

Mercury-containing devices can be found in almost every setting imaginable. Industrial facilities, medical facilities, personal residences, underground public transit, retail establishments and more are among the places where you can find these devices. Staff and contractors, such as cleaning crews, who come on-site to perform services are at risk if exposed to a mercury-containing device that shatters or breaks.

5 Things to Always Keep in Mind 

  1. There is always a potential for a mercury spill if a mercury-containing device is on your site.
  2. Dedicated cleaning equipment can eliminate the risk of contaminated equipment entering or leaving your business.
  3. Train all personnel (your employees and contract personnel) to recognize mercury and what to do in case of a mercury spill.
  4. Replace mercury-containing devices with non-mercury containing devices whenever possible.
  5. If you must utilize mercury-containing devices, train all personnel what to do in case of a mercury spill and the hazards of mercury.

Cleaning Companies Are at High Risk

Cleaning companies that offer their services on a contract basis are prime examples of a potentially at-risk group if exposed to mercury. Cleaning services often customize their schedules and work tasks to meet their clients’ needs. Services can include vacuuming, mopping, dusting and cleaning windows.  Most cleaning is done after business hours or a specified shift.

Cleaning companies can provide their own cleaning equipment, which may be dedicated to a client’s site or the cleaning company may use their equipment on multiple sites.  Some companies mandate the cleaning company use in-house owned equipment only.  Equipment use may also be a combination of the above.

A Case Study: Responding to a Cleaning Company Spill

Rader Environmental recently responded to a mercury spill at a pediatric care center.  The spill was caused by a leaking mercury-containing sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff).  In fact, it was somewhat of a fluke that the spill was ever realized by the pediatric care center.

Two contract cleaning personnel that had cleaned the pediatric care center after business hours just happened to be talking the next morning about a blood pressure cuff that was mounted on wheels leaked some “silver stuff” on the floor while they where moving it to vacuum.  Their manager happened to overhear the conversation and realized that they were more than likely talking about mercury.

The manager of the cleaning company immediately contacted the pediatric care center and told them what may have happened the night before during their routine nightly cleaning.  The pediatric care center contacted the local health department, which arranged for the air inside of the facility to be tested for mercury vapor.

Mercury Vapor Can Reak Havok on a Business

Mercury vapor was found to be at levels unsafe for occupancy.  The pediatric care center was forced to close for business until mercury was abated to safe levels for re-occupancy. Pregnant women and toddlers – the main clientele at this facility – are the most sensitive population to mercury vapor exposure.

Further assessment of the facility indicated that mercury had been spread throughout the facility by the vacuum cleaner.

The Double Whammy

The same vacuum cleaner that was used at the pediatric care center was then taken to another local business and used to vacuum the carpet.  Mercury vapor readings indicated mercury levels too high for occupancy at this business, forcing the business to close its doors until mercury cleanup was completed.

Fortunately, these were the only two offices that were cleaned by the contaminated vacuum. By chance, the cleaning company’s manager happened to overhear the two employees talk about the silver substance they saw while vacuuming.

Both offices were abated and re-opened for business.

The mercury spill in the pediatrics care center could have very easily been overlooked exposing staff and patients to mercury levels that are hazardous to one’s health for an unknown amount of time.

Contact Rader Environmental for your no-obligation mercury spill quote.

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