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How does potassium permanganate affect mercury?

How does potassium permanganate affect mercury?

Those who are used to acting the old fashioned way and washing off any dangerous substance with improvised means hardly ever thought about how potassium permanganate affects mercury. At the same time, you can find a lot of advice on the net on what to do if a thermometer breaks, and they often contain a pink solution familiar from childhood, which a couple of decades ago was considered almost a panacea for all diseases, starting with skin problems and ending with angina and poisoning. However, potassium permanganate was not only treated, but also disinfected surfaces from any contamination. Is this remedy so effective with a broken thermometer and how does potassium permanganate affect р

Those who are used to acting the old fashioned way and washing off any dangerous substance with improvised means hardly ever thought about how potassium permanganate affects mercury. At the same time, you can find a lot of advice on the net on what to do if a thermometer breaks, and they often contain a pink solution familiar from childhood, which a couple of decades ago was considered almost a panacea for all diseases, starting with skin problems and ending with angina and poisoning. However, potassium permanganate was not only treated, but also disinfected surfaces from any contamination. Is this remedy so effective with a broken thermometer and how does potassium permanganate affect mercury? Let’s dispel the myths!

What is potassium permanganate?

Before you understand how potassium permanganate affects mercury, you need to figure out what kind of substance it is. Potassium permanganate, or potassium permanganate, is dark purple crystals that quickly dissolve in water, coloring it in a pleasant pink-violet hue of varying intensity. It has long been used as an antiseptic, and this approach is justified in most cases. True, this useful property has nothing to do with mercury: unfortunately, even the most concentrated solution of potassium permanganate cannot neutralize particles of a poisonous metal, and even more so its vapor.

How do potassium permanganate and mercury interact?

To understand how potassium permanganate affects mercury, no special education is required – a school chemistry course is enough. The reaction between these substances is a complex process that is impossible in domestic conditions, and even more so with arbitrary dilution of potassium permanganate crystals with water. Demercurization is possible only with a solution of potassium permanganate with hydrochloric acid.

The method is based on the interaction of mercury with free chlorine formed by the reaction of potassium permanganate with hydrochloric acid. As a result, a low-toxic, water-insoluble calomel is formed:

2KMnO4 + 16HCl = 2KCl + 2MnCI2 + 5Cl2 + 8H20;

2Hg + Cl2 = Hg2Cl2

Calomel left in the air decomposes over time with the release of metallic mercury, therefore, after demercurization, the treated surfaces must be washed with special. solution – Source

Therefore, trying to conduct an independent demercurization with potassium permanganate, you are only wasting your time and endangering your health. All these measures will lead to are indelible dirty purple stains on furniture, carpeting and other surfaces that you have to treat. At the same time, particles of mercury that have been driven into the fabric or upholstery pile, under the baseboards and into the cracks, will not go anywhere – they must be neutralized professionally, otherwise they will pollute the air in the apartment. Therefore, it is better to immediately contact Mercury Expert , rather than risk your own health and harbor illusions about independent measures!

expert rtuti

Expert opinion:

Unfortunately, the Internet carries a lot of false information. Potassium permanganate, unfortunately, alone is not able to have an effect on mercury. Only as part of special solutions.
Laboratory assistant of the highest category 
Skorobogataya Olga

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