Mercury Vapors Air Monitoring

Presently, there is no standard sampling protocol for closure on a release of mercury. NIOSH 6009 and OSHA ID-140 mention analytical procedures but there is no QC/QA dealing with sampling protocol. The industry norm is to seal off the impacted area. The temperature of the area is elevated (at the level set by the opinion of the consultant or contractor). The room is then allowed to stabilize generally from 4 hours to a day. Samples are taken from 3 to 4 feet (the breathing air zone) from the floor.

Through this sampling process many aspects of life like conditions are not simulated. Mercury vapors are heavier than air. By allowing the room to stabilize, the mercury vapors are concentrated near the floor. There is no consideration given to the amount of foot traffic passing through an area. This foot traffic generally keeps the mercury vapors stirred through out the air within the breathing zone. If foot traffic is not accounted for, the sampling process could meet clearance levels in the breathing zone, and still have unsafe levels of mercury contamination.

The decision to ignore life-like conditions in the sampling process often does not take into account the breathing air zone of children and infants. Passive sampling techniques can lead to a false sense of security relative to long-term affects of mercury exposure.

Rader makes a conscious decision to use a very aggressive sampling plan instead of adhering to the industry norm. The worse case scenario is considered in each spill incident. The temperature in the impacted area is increased to at least 95 ° F. Fans are used to simulate foot traffic through the area. The mercury vapors are not allowed to stabilize in the area. Rader collects samples at different heights (depending on occupancy). During sampling temperature, field screening events, and activities are logged.

Rader takes mercury remediation very seriously. By using an extremely stringent sampling protocol, Rader’s clients have no doubts, fears, or concerns about the safety of the employees, friends, and families .

Mercury Removal Method

Mercury Consulting Services
Due to Rader’s extensive experience with many different types of mercury spills and clean-ups Rader is an excellent choice to use as a consultant on a large mercury remediation project. Rader will be able to coordinate with regulatory officials and your chosen contractor to ensure the project runs smoothly and in a cost effective manner.

Emergency Response for mercury spills
Rader has responded to many mercury spills and Rader realizes the importance of getting to the spill as soon as possible to prevent the spread of contamination throughout a facility and to prevent people and belongings from being unnecessarily contaminated.

Site assessments and surveys
For facilities where past usage of elemental mercury may have caused chronic contamination/exposure issues, Rader team can survey your facility and develop a remediation plan to utilizing sound mercury cleanup procedures. This is accomplished using wipe sampling, head space sampling, a thorough visual inspection and the use of the Lumex 915 Plus MVA. It may also be necessary to use other more invasive procedures to determine the fate and transport of elemental mercury depending on the length and severity of the contamination.

Post Removal Clearance Sampling
Once a project is finished it is important to verify that the indoor areas are both free of elemental mercury (so that it does not contaminate shoes, clothing or people) and free of mercury vapor. This is done through careful visual examination (using visual aids) and the use of the Lumex 915 Plus Mercury Vapor Analyzer.

Mercury Awareness Training
For those facilities that require the ongoing use of mercury or if a mercury spill has affected the employees at a facility Rader can conduct Mercury Awareness Training. This Training encompasses a little about the history of Mercury, its past uses, why it may be a problem and ways in which it affects our health. This training is generally customized to your mercury usage.

Mercury Disposal and Recycling Services
Rader makes every attempt to recycle elemental mercury and to decontaminate items that can be cleaned in a cost effective manner. Recycling and decontaminating many mercury compromised items in this manner reduces the facility owners Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) liability and complies with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s request for waste minimization and is the environmentally sound thing to do. Materials that cannot be recycled or cleaned in a cost effective manner are managed as hazardous waste by Rader. This may include contaminated debris.

Real Time Mercury Analysis
Rader uses Lumex 915 Plus Mercury Vapor Analyzers for detection and post removal clearance sampling, the Lumex technology is considered “State of the Art”.

The Lumex 915 Plus MVA is capable of detecting mercury vapor to the nanogram level (specifically 2 nanograms). The Lumex 915 Plus MVA is a portable atomic absorption spectrometer. The Lumex 915 Plus MVA is in many ways the key to performing a mercury survey or clean-up in a thorough and cost effective manner.

Prior to introduction of the Lumex 915 Plus MVA no “real time” instrument was available that could detect concentrations of mercury vapor down to levels that are considered protective of human health.

The Lumex 915 Plus MVA makes it possible to evaluate an entire building to determine concentrations of elemental mercury vapor in a way that could never have been accomplished previously. When the Lumex 915 Plus MVA is operated by someone with training and experience it is possible to use the Lumex 915 Plus MVA as a sort of mercury “bloodhound” it gives Rader the capability to detect elemental mercury that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Another advantage to using the Lumex 915 Plus MVA is that the United States Environmental Protection Agency and most Health Departments allow the Lumex to be used when performing final clearance monitoring following mercury abatement activities.

Rader also uses visual aids to identify mercury contamination that is otherwise not detected by the human eye.

Thorough Knowledge of Mercury Regulations
The Rader Teams thorough working knowledge of mercury regulations with regard to vapor exposure limits, decontamination procedures and recycling or proper disposal of mercury contaminated articles allows Rader to carry out your mercury decontamination project in a quick and straight forward manner.

Through the use of their proven procedures and the proprietary mercury removal chemical solutions Rader has demonstrated they can consistently achieve the very stringent Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) Minimal Risk Level (MRL) of 0.2 micrograms of mercury vapor per cubic meter of air.

Continuing Innovation in Mercury Removal Techniques
The chemists at Rader Environmental are never satisfied, they continue to learn from every clean up they participate in and use that knowledge to further refine their mercury removal techniques. The Rader Team’s extensive knowledge and focus on all aspects of mercury remediation will provide your facility with a cost effective and timely solution to any mercury related problem.

Mercury Chemical Applications

There are a few different types of chemical solutions on the market today that are used in remediation of mercury. Most of these solutions try to oxidate the mercury and suppress the mercury vapors. Most for the solutions are to be applied with a mop, and allowed to dry. The material left is then mopped up or vacuumed and mopped. Most of the solutions use a large organic molecule to help ãgrabä the mercury, making it easier to oxidate. Please remember the mercury molecule is small. It can penetrate Teflon tape. The chemicals in the solutions are large and cannot travel where mercury can go. The mercury will still be there. The solution will just suppress the vapors. No matter how much vacuuming, washing, and rinsing, the mercury stays there. Some of these solutions remain on and in the area for months after being put back into solution on every cleaning event. Making a possible for having a D009 hazardous waste. In a residential setting on the same floor as your child plays on, and your family pet eats off of.

Rader has developed several types of mercury removal compounds. These compounds are very aggressive to the mercury molecule. After the removal of the mercury vapor source, the compounds can be applied. Once the compounds are applied with a garden sprayer and not a mop, the compounds are left to dry and then the area in vacuumed twice. The area is rinsed with a second type of solution at least three times. To verify the area is mercury free wipe samples are taken.

Common problems are overlooked when applying chemical solutions:

  • The chemical solution is applied with a mop. Using a mop to put the solution down will spread the contamination. Misting the chemical solution with a garden sprayer reduces the threat of moving contamination to clean areas.
  • Not enough time is given for the chemical to work. Most chemical solutions and mercury must full dry before they are finished working.
  • Vacuuming the area is a must! Before the chemical compound is removed from the area. More than one treatment must be used.
  • Chemical solutions are not an alternative to mercury remediation! If you can find a chemical that removes mercury and not just masks it. They are great aids in the remediation process, but they do not replace it!

Rader also uses polymers to aid in spills. Once these polymers are applied with a spray bottle over the top of the spill area and elemental mercury the polymers are allowed to dry. The polymers ãtieä the mercury up in it. The polymers even change color to show mercury. At that time the contaminated areas can be cut away and disposed of in a legal ethical fashion. The areas, which do not show mercury contamination, can be thrown away in the trash. For a small spill, these polymers are a huge benefit. Not only do they remove the mercury contamination, but they also reduce the waste from the clean up efforts.