Mercury

What is mercury?

Mercury is a metal that can be harmful if you breathe it in or swallow it. There are three types of mercury:

  • Metallic mercury: Metallic mercury is a thick silver liquid that is found in compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), old thermometers, thermostat switches and computer screens.
  • Organic mercury: Organic mercury is most often found in fish. Fish take in the mercury from the environment.
  • Inorganic mercury: Inorganic mercury can be found in different types of chemicals that are used in industry.

Most batteries do not contain mercury.

Mercury poisoning is rare. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or may become pregnant, be careful around spilled mercury and limit the amount of fish you eat. Mercury may harm your baby.

For more information, including symptoms and what to do about mercury, see: