Thermometer Exchange Sept. 17

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Thermometer Exchange Sept. 17

Posted: 09/06/2005
Knoxville residents can exchange their mercury thermometers for new, free digital thermometers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or as long as the supply lasts, on Saturday, September 17 at Safe City, the City of Knoxville Police Department's Safety Fair. 165 S. Concord Street between Kingston Pike and Sutherland Avenue.

The event focuses primarily on bicycle safety. Participants, accompanied by an adult, bring their bicycles and helmets to ride through a series of skill stations, which helps them practice safer riding habits. Other safety topics covered are passenger and pedestrian safety. In addition, participants are educated in fire safety and are able to tour the fire safety house. During the tour, a fire is simulated using a non-toxic smoke.

Mercury thermometers at this year's event:


Up to two thermometers per household may be exchanged at the event.

Sponsors of the event are the City of Knoxville, Knox County Health Department (KCHD), the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, City of Knoxville Police Department, and the Safe Kids Coalition of the Greater Knox Area.

Mercury thermometers are both an environmental and a health and safety problem. For safety while transporting the thermometers, please bring them in their storage cases. If the case is not available or the thermometer is broken, the thermometer can be brought in a 12-ounce plastic soda bottle with a screw-cap lid.

This exchange is limited to mercury thermometers from households; other type of mercury-containing waste such as old non-digital thermostats, barometers, manometers and other household mercury waste or devices should be take to the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center, 1033 Elm St., during regular business hours. The Center accepts wastes from Knoxville and Knox County households.

Additional information about the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center is available at 865-215-6700.

INFORMATION ON MERCURY

Mercury thermometers are both an environmental and a health and safety problem. Broken thermometers are a potential source for injury from the broken glass, as well as a chemical hazard from the mercury in the thermometer. Mercury has many toxic effects in the body. If a thermometer is broken and not properly cleaned up, tiny droplets of mercury can evaporate over time. When mercury vapor is inhaled, it enters the blood and can damage the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. Children and fetuses are at special risk. Swallowing or touching mercury metal is not nearly as toxic; so if a broken thermometer is cleaned up properly and promptly, people will not be harmed.In the environment, mercury falls with rain and snow, contaminating lakes and streams and accumulating in the bodies of fish and wildlife. Natural processes can convert mercury into methylmercury, an even more dangerous form of the metal.Mercury was used for many years in thermometers designed for household use because no alternatives were available. However, this is no longer the case. In July 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement about the health effects of mercury, urging doctors and parents to stop using mercury thermometers and to dispose of them properly.

DISPOSAL OF THERMOMETERS


Thermometers should be brought to a thermometer exchange or the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center in their storage cases. If the case is not available or the thermometer is broken, the thermometer can be brought in a 12-ounce plastic soda bottle with a screw-cap lid.In addition to mercury thermometers from households, other types of mercury-containing waste such as old non-digital thermostats, barometers, manometers and other household mercury waste or devices can be brought to the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center, where they will be accepted for disposal during business hours. The Household Hazardous Waste Center is free to residents of Knox County and City of Knoxville residents only and is located at 1033 Elm Street. The Center does not accept material from businesses or residents from outside Knox County. Additional information about the Knoxville Household Hazardous Waste Center is available at 865-215-6700.

Should a mercury thermometer break, parents and teachers are reminded that they should NEVER use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the mercury. It can cause tiny droplets in the air, increasing the danger of inhalation, both immediately at the site and with any future use of the contaminated vacuum.