Q:

What should I do if a candy thermometer breaks?

A:

Quick Answer

If a candy thermometer with mercury in it breaks, it must be carefully cleaned up using gloves, a squeegee, Ziploc bags and other protective supplies, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Mercury fumes are very dangerous, and all windows should be opened after the thermometer breaks.

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Full Answer

While wearing rubber, latex or nitrile gloves, pick up glass or other sharp objects using a paper towel, and place them in a Ziploc bag; label it as hazardous, instructs the EPA. Use a squeegee or cardboard to gather the mercury beads in one place, and collect them with an eyedropper. Squeeze the mercury onto a damp paper towel, and place the towel in a labeled Ziploc bag.

To collect smaller beads of mercury, apply shaving cream to the area, and pat it with a small paintbrush. Alternatively, use duct tape to the area, and place the paintbrush or tape in a labeled Ziploc bag. Finally, put the Ziploc bags, gloves and all other materials used for cleanup in a labeled trash bag, and tie it. Local health departments provide specific directions for disposal of the trash bag.

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