Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Mercury Replacement Program

Did you know that the mercury from one broken thermometer can detectably pollute 5 million gallons of water?!?

MWU's ORSP will cover the cost to replace your mercury thermometers used for research. Our goal is to replace all mercury research thermometers with safer alternatives. As you probably know, mercury from broken thermometers presents a hazard for faculty, staff, and students in laboratory areas. Mercury also presents a hazard to the local environment, if broken thermometers in sinks eventually end at the sanitary sewer plant. Broken mercury thermometers create hazardous waste that is costly to clean up and costly to dispose. Non-mercury alternative thermometers are available, that are high-tech, accurate, safe, and less toxic.

Mercury Thermometers

Non-Mercury Thermometers

Mercury thermometers eventually break generating hazardous waste from spill clean-up. Replacing mercury thermometers with non-mercury thermometers reduces clean-up costs from breaks and spills.
Mercury is volatile at room temperature with vapors that are colorless, odorless, tasteless, and toxic. Each time a thermometer breaks, there is a potential for lab and clean-up personnel to be exposed to mercury. Non-mercury thermometers are less toxic and result in no exposure to hazardous mercury vapors.
Mercury thermometers and the contaminated clean-up materials generated by a spill are very expensive to dispose of. MWU's ORSP will pay to properly dispose of old mercury thermometers. Most non-mercury thermometers are certified by the National Institute of Standard and Technology or the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards to meet accuracy requirements.
Non-mercury thermometers are available for temperature ranges from;
-100 to 260 °C (-148 to 500 °F).

Non-mercury thermometers can be used in incubators, water baths, or other applications where mercury thermometers have been traditionally used. Please replace all of your mercury thermometers with non-mercury thermometers!

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