The question of how to measure mercury vapor, or conduct an air test for mercury, worries not only the owners of old-style thermometers who inadvertently broke the device, but also those who have recently moved to a new apartment or doubt the cleanliness of the atmosphere of their home. With a little effort, you can find on sale special sensors for mercury – devices based on the interaction of a reagent with chemicals in the air. Such devices are relatively inexpensive and are positioned by manufacturers as a universal tool for the determination of mercury vapor. Is it really? Let’s figure out how to measure mercury vapor with their help and whether it will come out of it.
The action of a standard sensor on mercury is to color litmus paper in a bright shade when it comes into contact with mercury in the air. Usually this device is used in industrial conditions to control the cleanliness of the working area, since the sensitivity is not high enough. The lowest possible threshold at which a reaction becomes noticeable is 0.01 mg/m3.
Such an indicator can only be called safe with a stretch: according to safety rules, it is possible to be in a room with a similar concentration of mercury vapor only in professional personal protective equipment for no more than seven hours. But no one wears a full-face respiratory mask at home, and they are clearly there for more than the specified time.
The maximum permissible concentration of mercury for residential premises is 0,0003 mg/m3, that is, 33.3 times lower than the sensitivity of the test strip. If you use this device and get a negative result, you will continue to poison yourself with toxic fumes until the symptoms become apparent. But at the chronic stage, it is almost impossible to get rid of the consequences of mercury poisoning!