Get the mercury out of your medicine chest

County offers thermometer swap

Metro residents can swap their mercury fever thermometers for a free digital one at drop-off facilities in Brooklyn Park and Bloomington, as well as any county household hazardous waste site.

The exchange program is an effort to reduce the number of potentially hazardous mercury fever thermometers. If a glass thermometer breaks and is not properly disposed of, silver mercury liquid can get into the air and pose health risks to humans and animals. Mercury is toxic to the nervous system, especially to that of fetuses or young children, and small amounts in lakes can make fish unhealthy for regular eating.

Hennepin County provides two drop-off facilities: 8100 Jefferson Highway in Brooklyn Park and 1400 W. 96th St. in Bloomington, both open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mercury thermometers should be transported in a sealed container to avoid breakage. A limited number of digital thermometers are available, the exchange program is available while supplies last.

For more information, call 348-3777 or visit the Hennepin County Environmental Services web site at http://www.co.hennepin.mn.us/environmental.