Why we cannot swim in a pool filled with mercury? Is it dangerous?

Knowledge: What will happen if fell into a pool filled with Mercury?


Get to Know about the Mercury Metal-

What will you learn?

  • What happens if a drop of mercury gets on your skin?
  • What if you were immersed in a pond of mercury?
  • Why Mercury Is A Very Rare Metal?
  • Can we stand over a Mercury lake?
  • Can we stand over a Mercury lake?
  • The Metal Is More Dangerous Or its Vapours?
  • What will happen if you swallowed a little Mercury?
  • What will happen if you swallowed a little Mercury?
  • Can we Abandon Mercury?



Even children know that mercury is incredibly dangerous but it wasn't always so until the middle of last century people took mercury as a cure for many diseases, fortunately, those days are gone and today you must be extremely careful when working with this metal 

What happens if a drop of mercury gets on your skin?

No, it's something even worse 

What if you were immersed in a pond of mercury?

In this article, you'll learn how truly dangerous mercury is I'll talk about its terrible effects on the human body

Let's flood a lake with a huge amount of this metal and put an imaginary swimmer there want to see if they can survive? and what exactly will happen to them let the experiment begin but don't even think about doing something like this at home it's life-threatening

If you've ever smashed a mercury thermometer you must have seen shiny silver balls sure mercury is extracted in a completely different form like other metals it's extracted from ore mostly from cinnabar.

Why Mercury Is A Very Rare Metal?

In general mercury content in the earth's crust is negligible only eight-hundredths of a gram or two-thousandths of an ounce per ton this is why mercury is an extremely rare element condensate forms from its vapor which when cooled collects as a liquid then the mercury is packaged in cast iron or steel flasks each one weighs 34 and a half kilograms or 76 pounds in this form it's supplied to industrial enterprises but enough theory

Let's move on to practice and imagine a whole lake with elemental mercury.

Let's not joke around let it be a lake the size of an Olympic pool don't even ask how much mercury we need given that this metal is more than 13 and a half times denser than the water we'll need a lot a little less than a million flasks to be precise but what can't be done for the sake of the experiment of the century well the lake is filled and shimmers in the sun like silver I must say right away it's better not to jump in from a hill jumping from a height into a mercury tank would be worse than falling onto a concrete floor on the off chance that you bounce from the shore it will likewise be unpleasant at a minimum you'll get some bruises.

Can we stand over a Mercury lake?

Mercury is so dense that you can't even be submersed in it by a couple of centimeters or inches but you'll probably be able to stand on the mercury lake it's better to hone your balance skills to perfection in advance because just standing on mercury will not be easy not to mention taking a step to get out of it by yourself will also be a problem it would be good to tie a rope to a tree before the experiment to pull yourself ashore.

Can we stand over a Mercury lake?

By the way, mercury has a high surface tension therefore it wouldn't stick to your body but in any case poisoning from vapors can't be avoided even though the lake is in the open air and the time of exposure wouldn't exceed a minute 

The fact is that mercury has the properties of a neurotoxin this means that even small doses of this metal can cause great harm to human health.

Just think about what serious measures are taken when breaking a thermometer at home? but it contains less than a gram or three-hundredth of an ounce of mercury furthermore exactly the same amount is enough to poison all the fish in a pond with an area of about 80 000 square meters or 870 000 square feet.

Now back to our mercury lake and imagining the effects of poisoning when getting into it as I said you won't be able to swim i don't advise kneeling down to take a closer look at the amazing metal it's better to lie on your back and look at the sky 

It's still impossible to hide from the harmful fumes but at least they'll penetrate less into your respiratory tract do you remember that a very small amount is enough to get acute poisoning for example just a drop smaller than a pea the substance in our lake is millions of times more dangerous but it's also of great importance how long the swimmer stays in the pond of mercury? 

Nothing serious will happen in one minute so long of course if they'll not breathe often, in general, it's ideal if the swimmer holds their breath for a while as for contact with the skin the consequences cannot be avoided nothing fatal but you need to be prepared for a rash itching sensitivity changes and hair loss.

The Metal Is More Dangerous Or its Vapours?

But a lake of mercury is much more dangerous than it may seem it will begin to kill a person as they approach it after all the metal itself is not as dangerous as its vapors maybe you should just wait until the mercury evaporates and then you can swim in what remains.

How much time it will take to Vapourize?

I must say right away the idea is not the best physicists estimate that a three millimeter or twelve-hundredths of an inch mercury ball takes three years to vaporize.

Now imagine how long it will take to evaporate a whole lake of mercury therefore all the time while the swimmer is approaching this dangerous place they'll inhale the vapors of a dangerous metal the problem is also that the vapors have no smell or color.

What will be the consequences of mercury vapor?

Right at the very shore a person will have double vision and begin to experience problems with hearing and movement their feet will become cottony a metallic taste will appear in the mouth nausea and a headache will begin. It may even increase the body temperature the heart will beat more quickly as when running then it's better not to even test yourself for strength but to immediately dial 100 and try to get away or crawl away from the killer lake.

Shock and loss of consciousness can happen at any moment and then there will be no chance of survival 

Mercury vapor poisoning is dangerous with its growing symptoms they'll manifest themselves within a day after being exposed therefore you can only enter the lake if you drive up in a tightly closed car directly to the shore then take a deep breath in the car and go a couple of memorable shots and immediately after you must run back to the car 

In this case, there's a chance to escape with mild poisoning and dermatitis even better if you have a gas mask and a protective suit in your car the main thing is not to bring these protective items home after the dive there's a high probability that you'll not even reach your house after inhaling the mercury deposited on them 

What will happen if you swallowed a little Mercury?

The most interesting thing is if you swallowed a little mercury while in the lake nothing bad would happen it will transit through your digestive tract and exit naturally but it's better not to do so even in small quantities a dose of two and a half grams of eight-hundredths of an ounce of mercury is generally fatal 

That is if you inhale just so much mercury through some kind of inhaler in a small enclosed space doctors will not be able to help 


What will happen if you swallowed a little Mercury?

By the way, the idea of immersion in mercury is not at all new just look at this photo taken in 1972 on it a brave miner sits in a tub of the toxic metal 

I hope this was only for the sake of the photo and for a couple of seconds in ancient times people generally considered mercury to be an elixir of immortality

Therefore emperors drank mercury tablets and took mercury baths

What was the outcome after such procedures 

I think you can guess but mercury to be honest is just a harmless metal compared to its compounds in the Japanese city of Minamata thousands of people have been poisoned by the dangerous mercury compound methylmercury 

It arose due to microorganisms living in the water using elemental mercury they converted it into a harmful neurotoxin and a couple of drops of dimethylmercury that were spilled cost the life of chemistry 

Professor Karen Wetterhahn the substance didn't even get on exposed skin but on a glove but that was enough to deliver a lethal dose now the whole world closely monitors the release of mercury into the environment it's used less and less in the manufacture of products

Can we Abandon Mercury?

For people so far it's not possible to completely abandon it but this is only a matter of time to protect yourself from dangerous fumes you can replace a mercury thermometer with an electric or infrared one when buying fish try not to eat too much swordfish shark tuna and mackerel.

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