St. Joseph's to hold thermometer exchange - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

St. Joseph's to hold thermometer exchange


CHIPPEWA FALLS (Press Release) – St. Joseph's Hospital is making a final sweep of the Chippewa Valley. Its goal is to rid the community of thermometers containing liquid mercury – a health hazard.

Exchange your old mercury thermometer for a new free digital thermometer.

How the Program Works:

  • St. Joseph's Hospital's Green Team in conjunction with the Partners of St. Joseph's Hospital will swap your mercury-containing thermometer with a new digital thermometer at no cost to you. 
  • Collection will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at House Blend Lighting and Design Studio, 215 N. Bridge St. during Chippewa Falls Main Street's Paint the Town Red event.
  • Place your mercury-containing thermometer in its original plastic container (if applicable) and double bag it in resealable bags to protect it during transportation.

The Mercury Problem:

Mercury is a toxic liquid metal which poses a threat to the health of humans and the natural environment. Children are especially vulnerable to the hazards associated with mercury through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. In an attempt to save community members and the environment from toxins, St. Joseph's Hospital's Green Team and the Partners of St. Joseph's Hospital are working together to provide digital thermometers during a thermometer swap.

Metallic mercury primarily causes health effects when it is breathed as a vapor where it can be absorbed through the lungs, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The exposures can occur when elemental mercury is spilled or products that contain mercury break and expose mercury to the air.

Metallic liquid mercury generally does not absorb very well when it swallowed. Breathing its vapors is very dangerous. When metallic mercury is touched it can slowly pass through the skin, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In general, chemicals affect the same organ systems in all people who are exposed. A person's reaction depends on several things, including individual health, previous exposure to chemicals, and personal habits such as smoking or drinking. It's also important to consider the length of exposure to the chemical; the amount of chemical exposure; and whether the chemical was inhaled, touched, or eaten, according to the WDHS.

For more information on exposure to mercury, contact:

--Wisconsin Poison Control Center, 800-222-1222.

--Division of Public Health, 608-266-1120.

--Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry information center, 888-422-8737.

For cleanup instructions, visit

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