Volume 62  |  Winter 2010

“Mercury Thermometer Identification"
By Philip Kercher, FASHE, CHFM

Making hospitals mercury-free has been a goal of the AHA, ASHE and Practice Greenhealth, a non-profit organization committed to support and inform health care facilities on sustainability issues. Mercury has long been recognized as a potent neurotoxin. Mercury-column blood pressure manometers are quickly disappearing, replaced by aneroid gauges. Electronic thermometers have replaced mercury thermometers in most clinical locations.

Here’s a tip to identify a mercury thermometer. A mercury thermometer contains the silver-colored fluid many of us remember from broken thermometers or Mercoid switches in our boiler controls. However, most thermometers have a red-colored liquid within them. This material is alcohol-based and is not mercury. Therefore, there is no need to replace them.

Silver is mercury and red is alcohol. Keep up the good work to eliminate mercury from the work place as much as possible!

Issues of the WSSHE NEWSLINE can be found at:

The WSSHE NEWSLINE is published quarterly as a service to WSSHE Members. The purpose of the NEWSLINE is to promote the Society by sharing information of interest to the Members. Please send brief articles or information updates to the WSSHE Editor care of:

Geoffrey W. Glass PE, CHFM
Providence St. Peter Hospital
413 Lilly Road
Olympia, WA 98506-5166
FAX: 360-493-4043
Phone: 360-493-7722.