Navigation Links
End of an era: NIST to cease calibrating mercury thermometers
Date:2/2/2011

Beginning March 1, 2011, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will no longer provide calibration services for mercury thermometers. The cessation of the mercury thermometer calibration program marks the end of an era at NIST, which has provided the service since the doors opened in 1901. The closing of the program is part of a larger effort, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a number of professional standards organizations and environmental and industry groups, to phase out the use of mercury thermometers altogether.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. Elemental mercury is found in thermometers and used in a number of industrial processes such as gold mining. Once released into the environment, mercury makes its way into streams, rivers, and finally the ocean. The mercury is absorbed by sea life and accumulates in the larger fish that humans like to eat. This is the main source of mercury poisoning in humans today.

While many industries follow ASTM standards that stipulate the use of mercury thermometers, these standards have fallen behind the states, many of which have outlawed the sale and transport of mercury thermometers. Presently about 300 of the approximately 700 standards have been amended to allow for the use of both mercury-free liquid-in-glass and digital thermometers.

According to NIST researcher Dawn Cross, each of these ASTM standards is reviewed on a rolling basis. She estimates that all the standards will have been amended to include detailed procedures for making the switch to mercury thermometer alternatives within three years.

"One of our major activities is fielding calls from industry and explaining the science of how they can make the switchover," says Cross. "Change always brings confusion and apprehension, but in every case there is an alternative thermometer to suit the measurement need. It's like learning to use a new cell phone or drive a car with a different kind of transmission; we're simply substituting one technology for another, but they both work equally well."

NIST itself had a stockpile of more than 8,000 industrial-use mercury thermometers hidden away in drawers.

The mercury from these has been sent to specialized recycling centers, which repurpose the mercury to produce compact fluorescent light bulbs. Mercury thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercuryan amount equal to the mercury in over 125 compact fluorescent bulbs.

According to Greg Strouse, leader of NIST's Temperature and Humidity Group, that recycling doubly reduces mercury emissions.

"The amount of mercury in a compact fluorescent light bulb is about one to four milligrams," says Strouse. "Most of that mercury is bound to the inside of the glass during the life cycle of the bulb, a process that makes it much less environmentally harmful. Burning of coal is a major source of vaporous mercury released into the atmosphere. Compact fluorescents use less electricity, which reduces the amount of coal burned, which reduces the amount of mercury released by a factor of four."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Esser
mark.esser@nist.gov
301-975-8735
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Meet Phannie, NISTs standard phantom for calibrating MRI machines
2. Mercury in Bay Area fish a legacy of California mining
3. Eggs show arctic mercury cycling may be linked to ice cover
4. Natural dissolved organic matter plays dual role in cycling of mercury
5. Succimer found ineffective for removing mercury
6. Study: Fish near coal-fired power plants have lower levels of mercury
7. Why mercury is more dangerous in oceans
8. Mercury levels are increasing in popular species of game fish in Lake Erie
9. Mercury is higher in some tuna species, according to DNA barcoding
10. Fingerprinting method reveals fate of mercury in Arctic snow
11. Study reveals how Arctic food webs affect mercury in polar bears
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
End of an era: NIST to cease calibrating mercury thermometers
(Date:5/20/2016)... 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce its ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will ... VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, ... and usability. ... partnership. "This marketing and technology partnership ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision ... Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete ... MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions ... of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to ... ) , The analysts forecast the ... CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... number of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lajollacooks4u ... area and has consistently been rated one of its top attractions. Fortune 500 ... globe to participate in a unique and intimate team-building experience. , Each event kicks ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Founder ... double board-certified in surgery and surgery of the hand by the National Board ... stranger to going above and beyond in his pursuit of providing the most ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... WEDI, the nation’s leading authority on the use ... W. Stellar has been named by the WEDI Board of Directors as WEDI’s president ... executive leader with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, association management and ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Worcester, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 ... ... including heart attacks, diabetes, and traumatic injuries, will be accelerated by research at ... skin cells into engines of wound healing and tissue regeneration. , The novel ...
Breaking Biology Technology: