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Mercury-Thermometers: Alternative Products
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Selecting Non-Mercury Thermometers
Compares the accuracy of different types of thermometers.

Accurate and reliable alternatives to mercury fever and laboratory thermometers are readily available at local pharmacies or through scientific and medical supply companies.


Non-mercury alternatives to mercury fever thermometers include digital, indium-gallium-tin and dot matrix thermometers. Digital thermometers have been the most commonly chosen alternative. Care should be taken to choose a digital thermometer that contains a changeable battery; some are not changeable. (The battery is a button cell battery and may contain 5-50 mg of mercury; it should be recycled through a battery collection program.) The organization Health Care Without Harm suggests that people choose a digital thermometer that does not have a flexible tip as the flexible tip is made of polyvinylchloride (PVC) which may form dioxin when incinerated. For taking a large number of temperatures, such as in a school medical office, a hand-held probe digital thermometer is a non-mercury alternative. Digital thermometers are also an alternative for mercury basal thermometers, but a person must purchase a digital thermometer that is specifically for this purpose.

For school laboratory applications, the inexpensive, non-mercury, alcohol laboratory thermometer is usually appropriate. Some slightly more expensive, mineral spirit-filled laboratory thermometers are guaranteed to be as accurate as mercury laboratory thermometers. For more advanced applications, a digital laboratory thermometer may be needed.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Mercury-Thermometers Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
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Hub Last Updated: 1/8/2013



Last Modified 10/04/2011

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