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

ar 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."


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

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