Safely dispose of mercury by either scooping it with a sheet of paper or by sucking it up with an eyedropper. Due to the toxic nature of mercury, avoid touching it, as it absorbs quickly into the skin and can cause chemical burns, irritation, dizziness and irritability. Long-term exposure to mercury can cause severe health problems and even death.
Do not use a broom or vacuum cleaner to clean up a mercury spill, as this releases mercury into the air and increases contamination. Do not pour mercury into a drain, as it causes blockage, and do not wash mercury-stained clothes, as this could contaminate your washing machine. Do not throw mercury into the trash.
When handling a mercury spill, wear rubber gloves, and remove any jewelry. Objects that contain mercury, such as compact fluorescent bulbs, should be kept out of the reach of children.
If an object containing mercury breaks, clear everyone from the room, especially children or pets. Open the windows to allow circulation of air in the room and turn off the air conditioner or heater. Pick up the broken pieces with a piece of cardboard or paper, and put them in a sealable package, such as a plastic bag.