is an odourless and non-flammable silver-white heavy metal that
is liquid at room temperature. Mercury is used in pure form in thermometers,
barometers, and other consumer products. Batteries containing mercury
are used in devices ranging from guided missiles and space craft
to hearing aids, calculators and toys. Mercury is found in electric
lamps and fluorescent light tubes. Prior to 1990, mercury was added
to paints as an anti-mildew agent, antibacterial agent, and fungicide.
Mercury is also used in pigments, refining, lubrication oils, and
Mercury, in both inorganic and organic forms, is toxic to humans.
Inhalation of mercury vapours can cause shakiness, tremors, memory
loss and a loss of respiratory function as a result of severe pulmonary
tissue damage. Ingestion of mercury can cause cardiovascular dysfunction,
acute renal failure, and severe gastrointestinal damage.
there are no regulations pertaining to mercury on construction projects.
Industrial processes involving mercury are regulated under the Ontario
Occupational Health & Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, Regulation 844
as amended by O.Reg. 110/04, Designated Substance – Mercury.
A guideline, “The Safe Handling of Mercury: A Guide for the
Construction Industry” was published by the Occupational Health
and Safety Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Labour in 1991.
Mercury waste is classified as hazardous waste. The transport of
the waste to the disposal site is controlled by the federal Transportation
of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.