When liquid mercury is spilled, it forms droplets that can accumulate in the tiniest of spaces and then emit vapors into the air. Mercury vapor in the air is odorless, colorless, and very toxic. Most mercury exposures occur by breathing vapors, by direct skin contact or by eating food or drinking water contaminated with mercury.
Be careful to keep devices from breaking and releasing mercury into the environment. Health problems caused by mercury depend on how much has entered your body, how it entered your body, how long you have been exposed and how your body responds to the mercury. All mercury spills, regardless of quantity, should be treated seriously. The Division of Public Health is available by calling 302-744-4540.
In the event a spill leads to the release of one pound or more of mercury, you are subject to Delaware’s Reporting of A Discharge of A Pollutant or Air Contaminant Regulations (7 DE Admin. Code, 1203). When such a release occurs Environmental Emergency Notification needs to be made to the DNREC by calling 1-800-662-8802. It is also necessary to report the release to the State Emergency Response Commission and your Local Emergency Planning Commission.