Mercury is a natural metal that is a poison. It is a heavy, odorless, shiny, silver-white liquid. Sometimes it’s called quicksilver. Liquid mercury can evaporate and end up in the air. Only a few drops of mercury is enough to poison the air in a room.
Volcanoes and the earth’s crust release some mercury into the air. Coal-burning power plants and waste burning also release mercury into the air. Mercury in the air falls back to earth. It gets into lakes and oceans and can end up in fish.
There is some mercury in fluorescent light bulbs and CFL bulbs. Even though you can’t see the mercury, a broken bulb can release mercury into the room. Mercury also has been used in some thermometers, barometers, gauges, switches, and thermostats.
If liquid mercury touches your skin, it can get into your body and make you sick.
If you find some mercury or some mercury spills, do not touch it. Tell an adult so they can clean it up the right way.