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Reported Mercury Content of Various Products and Materials

The following table provides information on the mercury content of various products and materials. The table serves as a quick reference for sources of mercury. However, where possible, facilities should confirm with their suppliers the quantity of mercury contained in various products or materials. If only a range of concentrations is available for a substance present in a mixture, use the average of the range for threshold determinations. If no other information is available, use the information provided in this table to estimate the mercury content of the product or material. An item retains its article status if it is a manufactured item that does not release mercury under normal conditions of processing or other use. References are cited beneath this table.

Product/Material TypeMercury ContentCommentsReference
Chemical/Preservative Materials
Catalyst   Unknown current use of mercuric chloride catalyst for producing vinyl chloride monomer and phenyl-mercuric compound catalysts for producing polyurethane foams. Methyl mercury hydroxide has been used as an epoxidation catalyst and ethyl mercury chloride used as a polymerization catalyst.U.S. EPA 1994,U.S. EPA 1997,U.S. NTP 2000
Caustic Soda Solution (50%) < 0.25ppmMercury is present as an impurity in a concentration of less than 0.25 ppm in the caustic soda solution (50%). In the chlorine-alkali process for industrial fabrication of caustic soda and gaseous chlorine, mercury is used in direct contact with the solution as a cathode, which explains the presence of mercury as an impurity in the caustic soda.Environment Canada, personal communication
Explosive Detonator   Mercury fulmonate was widely used as a detonator for explosives with unknown current use.Spectrum 2000
Miscellaneous   Mercuric chloride has been used as an agent for browning and etching steel and iron, intensifier in photography, electroplating aluminum, photocopy toners.U.S. NTP 2000,Scorecard 2000
Paint Preservative   Mercury compounds were previously, but no longer, used as an interior and exterior paint preservative (e.g., phenylmercuric acetate, N-phenylmercury 2-ethylhexyl maleate, phenylmercuric oleate, etc.).Poll. Probe 1996,U.S. EPA 1997 U.S. NTP 2000,Env. Can. 1998
Pesticide   Various mercury compounds have been used as bactericides and fungicides (e.g., methyl mercury(II) chloride, methyl mercury hydroxide, ethylmercury chloride, phenylmercuric acetate, phenylmercuric nitrate, mercuric chloride, mercury ((o-carboxyphenyl)thio) ethyl sodium salt). Registration of all material fungicides was discontinued in December 1995.U.S. NTP 2000,Env. Can. 1998
Pigment/Colouring Agent   Although mostly phased out, mercury (cadmium mercury sulphides) has been used to produce dark red pigments for inks, dyes and impregnation to plastic and rubber products.Poll. Probe 1996,Env. Can. 1998
Preservative   Mercuric chloride has been used as a preservative for materials such as wood, leather tanning, white reserve in fabric printing and embalming anatomical specimens.U.S. NTP 2000
Sulphuric Acid   Sulphuric acid is known to contain mercury. Refer to the MSDS to determine the mercury content. 
Electrical Equipment/Instruments
Alkaline~ 0.1 g/unit0.025% unit mass, type AAA - 9V dry cellEnv. Can. 1998, U.S. EPA 1998
Alkaline (no mercury design)   type AAA - 9V dry cellEnv. Can. 1998
Mercuric Oxide1.35 g/unit33.3% unit mass, button cellEnv. Can. 1998
Silver Oxide0.008 g/unit0.6% unit mass, button cellEnv. Can. 1998
Zinc Air0.009 g/unit1.0% unit mass, button cellEnv. Can. 1998, U.S. EPA 1998
Zinc Carbon   Sulphuric acid is known to contain mercury. Refer to the MSDS to determine the mercury content.U.S. EPA 1998
Zinc Carbon (no mercury design)   type AAA - 9V dry cellEnv. Can. 1998
Fluorescent Lamps
Compact0.010 g/unit Poll. Probe 1996
4 ft. Lamp0.023 g/unittargetted reductionPoll. Probe 1996
8 ft. Lamp0.046 g/unittargetted reductionPoll. Probe 1996
Various   fluorescent lamps contain 0.05% mercuryU.S. EPA 1994
40 Watt < 0.01g/unitcontained 0.027g in 1995, target < 0.012 by 2000Env. Can. 1998
High Powered Lamps
High Pressure Sodium < 0.01g/unit Env. Can. 1998
Metal Halide0.051 g/unit Env. Can. 1998
Mercury Vapour0.075 g/unitused in early 1990sEnv. Can. 1998
MCT Semiconductors   alloy of mercury-cadmium-tellurideU.S. EPA 1994
Other Electrical Equipment   mercury in rectifiers, oscillators, motor switches, cathode tubesU.S. EPA 1994
Switches & Gauges
Accustat1 g/unitprecise temperature controlEnv. Can. 1998
Float Control Tilt 0.5-1g/unitsump pump, septic tankEnv. Can. 1998
Plunger/Displacement Relay up to 160g/unithigh current lighting and heatingEnv. Can. 1998
Reed 0.14-3g/unithigh precision analyticalEnv. Can. 1998
Silent2.6 g/unitlight switch prior to 1991Env. Can. 1998
Tilt2 g/unitfreezer light, washing machineEnv. Can. 1998
Mercury Switch~ 3 g/unit Env. Can. 1998
Thermostat Probes~ 2.5 g/unitgas appliancesEnv. Can. 1998
Various Instrumentation   barometers, manometers, pressure sensors, valves, calomel electrodesU.S. EPA 1994
Extracted and Refined Fuels
U.S. Coals
Clean Coal 0.08-0.34ppmmercury content in clean coal (U.S. Geol. Survey)Poll. Probe 1996
Raw Coal 0.09-0.44ppmmercury content in raw coal (U.S. Geol. Survey)Poll. Probe 1996
Minnesota Coal 0.02-0.09ppm Poll. Probe 1996
Anthracite0.230.16-0.3ppmby weightU.S. EPA 1997
Bituminous0.21< 0.01-3.3ppmby weightU.S. EPA 1997
Lignite0.150.03-1.0ppmby weightU.S. EPA 1997
Subbituminous0.100.01-8.0ppmby weightU.S. EPA 1997
U.S. Oils
Residual Oil0.13 ppm Poll. Probe 1996
Residual Oil 0.007-0.17ppmmercury content of typical #6 oilU.S. EPA 1997
Distillate Oil0.07 ppm Poll. Probe 1996
Distillate Oil < 0.12ppmmercury content of typical #2 oilU.S. EPA 1997
Crude Oil 0.023-30ppm Poll. Probe 1996
Crude Oil3.50.007-30ppm U.S. EPA 1997
Crude Oil 0.02-2ppm Spectrum 2000
Crude Oil6 ppmcrude oil used in U.S. carbon black (oil furnace process)U.S. EPA 1998
Bitumens, Asphalt, Solid Hydrocarbons 2-900ppm Spectrum 2000
Medical/Dental Materials
Dental Amalgams0.2 g/amalgamaverage mercury content per amalgam contains 50% metallic mercury in silver-copper-tin amalgamEnv. Can. 1998Poll. Probe 1996
Various Medical Reagents   mercury used in various disinfectants, diagnostic reagents, antiseptics, pharmaceutical diuretics, stains, etc. (e.g., mercurous chloride, mercuric chloride, mercuric sulphide, thimerosol, Zenkers solution, immu-sal, carbosal, carbol-fushin)Poll. Probe 1996
Cement Materials
Clinker Product < 0.01ppmmercury content in U.S. cement productionU.S. EPA 1998
Kiln Dust < 0.5ppmmercury content in U.S. cement productionU.S. EPA 1998
Raw Mix < 0.01ppmmercury content in U.S. cement productionU.S. EPA 1998
Waste Fuels < 1.5ppmmercury content in U.S. cement productionU.S. EPA 1998
Lead Smelter Acid Plant0.2 ppmmercury content in Canadian smelter H2SO4 acid plantEnv. Can. 1998
Metals and Alloys   may exist as trace component due to surface amalgamation 
Sewage Sludge1.8 ppmaverage from Minnesota studyEnv. Can. 1998
Sewage Sludge5.2 ppmdry solids by weightU.S. EPA 1997
Various Acids and Alkalis   may exist as trace component 
Raw Materials/Ores
U.S. Metal Mine
Copper Ores 0.01-1ppm0.5 ppm mercury averageU.S. EPA 1998
Gold Ores 0.1-1000ppm U.S. EPA 1998
Lead Ores0.004 lb Hg/ton U.S. EPA 1998
Lead (Missouri) Ore < 2ppmlead smelter in MissouriU.S. EPA 1997
Miscellaneous Ores   unknown for silver, ferroalloy ores, etc.U.S. EPA 1998
Zinc Ores 0.1-10ppm U.S. EPA 1998
Various Mineral/Gangue Components
Aragonite3.7 %mercury content in CaCO3Spectrum 2000
Barite0.5 %mercury content in BaSO4Spectrum 2000
Calcite0.03 %mercury content in CaCO3Spectrum 2000
Cerussite0.1 %mercury content in PbCO3Spectrum 2000
Fluorite0.01 %mercury content in CaF2Spectrum 2000
Galena0.02 %mercury content in PbSSpectrum 2000
Graphite0.01 %mercury content in graphitic carbonSpectrum 2000
Grey Copper Ores14 %mercury content in (Cu,As,SB)XsySpectrum 2000
Hydrated Iron Oxides0.2 %mercury content in Fe2O3nH2OSpectrum 2000
Marcasite0.07 %mercury content in FeS2Spectrum 2000
Pyrite2 %mercury content in FeS2Spectrum 2000
Pyrolusite2 %mercury content in MnO2Spectrum 2000
Realgar2.2 %mercury content in AsSSpectrum 2000
Siderite0.01 %mercury content in FeCO3Spectrum 2000
Sphalerite1 %mercury content in ZnSSpectrum 2000
Stibnite1.3 %mercury content in Sb2S3Spectrum 2000
Tetrahedrite 17.6-21%mercury content in Cu12Sb4S13Spectrum 2000
Wurtzite0.03 %mercury content in ZnSSpectrum 2000
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