I'm really freaking out here.
This morning DH knocked a mercury thermometer out of the medicine cabinet while reaching for something else. We didn't even know we still owned a mercury thermometer! The thermometer bounced off the sink, fell out of its case, and broke on the tile floor.
We removed all of the visible mercury by scooping it up on cardboard and placing it in a sealed bag.
Here are the two unfortunate things: 1- because DH didn't realize at first that the thermometer contained mercury, he walked in and out of the bathroom a few times, potentially tracking a few droplets into other parts of the house. 2- DH ran the vacuum over the tile floor and bath rug to pick up any remaining broken glass. As it turns out, vacuuming mercury is a really bad thing to do because it vaporizes, and breathing it is potentially really harmful, especially to infants- we have a 9-month-old DS. We don't think there was any more mercury on the floor, but we don't know for 100 % sure, especially about the bath rug.
I called Poison Control, and they said that based on my description there was probably no need for concern, BUT that because the vacuum had been used and there was even a small potential for contamination, that we should replace it (because if it does have mercury anywhere in it, vapors would be released each time we use the vacuum). They didn't seem to think there was any real risk of problems related to vapor exposure, though. We also called DS's doctor and left a message with the answering service.
So- we will dispose of the vacuum and bath rug, we have closed the bathroom where the mercury spilled and are running an exhaust fan to ventilate the room, we are ventilating the rest of the first floor separately.
What else would you do? I'm considering taking DS to a friend's house for the night, to let the air continue to clear. I'm also wondering about replacing the carpeting in the adjacent room because of the possibility that some mercury was tracked onto it- this is the room where DS spends most of his play time.
I know I may sound really alarmist, but I can't stand the thought of allowing DS to be exposed to a health threat- I want to make sure we've done as much as we can to minimize any risk. DH is beside himself- he feels terrible for causing the incident and even worse because he used the vacuum.
Any thoughts? Thanks so much!!!