The major mercury specific considerations are for health and safety of petrochemical workers. Mercury is toxic to human health. Human exposure occurs mainly through inhalation of elemental mercury vapours.
Mercury is a naturally-occurring metal, traces of which occur in rocks of the earth’s crust. The uncharged metallic or elemental mercury (Hg0), readily vaporizes from its liquid state and is the most common form of mercury in the atmosphere. Mercury exists in various forms: elemental (or metallic); inorganic (e.g. mercuric chloride); and organic (e.g., methyl- and ethyl mercury)
Mercury is categorized into Elemental, Inorganic and Organic Mercury. Inorganic mercury can be methylated by microorganisms native to soils, sediments, fresh water, and salt water, to form organic mercury. The forms and examples of mercury and its associated compounds most commonly found in natural gas, condensate and crude oil.
Short-term exposure to high concentrations of mercury vapour causes harmful effects on the nervous, digestive, respiratory and renal systems. Among the symptoms observed due to high concentration exposures to mercury are fatigue, fever and chills. Reduced sensation and strength in the arms and legs, muscle cramps and decreased nerve conduction.
Long-term exposures of mercury mainly show its effects on the nervous system. This can be seen through muscle incoordination, alteration in mood, behaviour, memory, feeling and decreased nerve conduction.
And therefore, the process of removing or neutralization mercury contaminants that have accumulated on equipment, tools and personnel is a critical point and needs kind of competence and expert.
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