For many years, our government and environmental agency, especially the EPA have tried to come up with solutions to minimize or at least reduce the level of mercury waste in the water. Though for many years, the level of mercury deposits continue to increase without any sight of slowing down. And as you can see from the figures below, there is somewhat a correlation between the rate of mercury emission and number of adults who have exposed to mercury in one form or another. Clearly, there really isn't a definite method of reducing the level of mercury waste in the environment.
Though knowing how to distinguish the different type of mercury waste is an important first step towards proper disposal and recycling. Mercury devices, such as pressure gauges, thermostats and barometers, were manufactured so that elemental mercury cant be exposed. Therefore as long as the device is not compromised, these items can be dispose at certified recycler. However, once the elemental mercury is exposed from a device, it is considered mercury debris, according to EPA. The process of disposing spilling elemental mercury is a complete different story than in mercury devices, since it is more harmful and the recycling process can be quite difficult and expensive. Mercury debris includes dental amalgam, any broken mercury devices and many more. We, as a society just need to be careful while handling mercury products. If you are not sure what to do when mercury spill or when the spill is more than one pound, you can contact local agency specialized in hazardous control. If you live in Oregon, you can contact the Oregon Response System at 1-800-452-0311 or 503-378-6377. You can also visit http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/cu/emergency/reportspill.htm to get more information about mercury spill.