Mercury, also known as quicksilver, is a naturally-occurring metal that is toxic to living organisms.
Metallic or elemental mercury — an odorless, shiny, silver-white liquid — is commonly used in thermometers, barometers and fluorescent light bulbs.
Metallic mercury is extremely dangerous with a few drops generating enough fumes to contaminate the air in a room. Furthermore, skin contact with the metal results in the absorption of mercury into the blood stream and potential health problems. Mercury poisoning may include the following symptoms:
- muscle weakness
- skin rashes
- mental disturbances such as mood swings and memory loss
- impairment of speech, hearing and peripheral vision
- impairment of coordinated movements such as walking or writing
- numbness and "pins and needles" feeling in the hands, feet and sometimes around the mouth