Mercury is a liquid metal and we know it as quicksilver. It is the only metallic element that is liquid at standard temperature and pressure.
Mercury is a rare element and not commonly found in the earth’s crust, but it is extremely concentrated when found.
It was and still is commonly used in thermometers and blood pressure cuffs, electrical switches of thermostats, certain types of doze alarm-type alarm clocks and many other scientific instruments. Mercury vapor can are also found in the new light bulbs, the so-called compact fluorescent light bulbs.
However, it is important to remember that this metal is highly toxic. Its most dangerous property is its density. Mercury is 13.5 times denser than water, its liquid and gas forms are highly poisonous. When inhaled or ingested (or through an opened wound), Mercury can accumulate in the body, causing damage the brain, nervous system, kidneys, liver, DNA and chromosomal damage and give eye irritation.
Mercury is found naturally in the environment and is present around the world as cinnabar, which was used by Paleolithic painters to decorate caves in Spain and France 30,000 years ago.
. Alchemists used to believe that mercury could be turned into gold when combined with other metals.
Mercury was considered the primary means of treatment for syphilis until the early 20th century. It was used in the form of pills, calomel, ointments and steam baths. The danger of being poisoned by mercury was always present during the treatment.
Mercury has been used throughout history. It was discovered in 3500-year-old Egyptian tombs dating back and was known to the Chinese, Greeks, Romans, and Hindus.
Did people really know about Mercury’s high toxicity?
The recent rise in mercury’s quantity on the planet through water and air pollution, especially power plants in Asia is a serious problem.