Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA


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Mercury and its compounds exist in three general forms:

  • Elemental (or metallic).

  • Inorganic. Mercury can combine with other elements (mainly chlorine, sulfur, and oxygen) to form inorganic mercury compounds.

  • Organic. Mercury may combine with carbon or carbon-containing substances to make organic mercury compounds. These organic compounds are further divided between alkyl (carbon-chain) and aryl (aromatic ring) groups.

The respective methods for sampling the different forms of mercury are:

  • OSHA Occupational Chemical Database. OSHA's premier one-stop shop for occupational chemical information. It compiles information from several government agencies and organizations. Information available on the pages includes chemical identification and physical properties, exposure limits, sampling information, and additional resources.
  • Mercury Vapor in Workplace Atmospheres. OSHA Method ID-140, (June 1991). Describes the collection of airborne elemental mercury in a passive dosimeter or active sampling device and subsequent analysis using a cold vapor-atomic absorption spectrophotometer.
  • Mercury. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) Method 6009, (August 15, 1994). Describes the elemental mercury vapor sampling and measurement.
Aryl and Inorganic
Organomercury (Alkyl Compounds)
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