What is Mercury
In the early 1960’s, a new style of flooring was developed
to replace wood floor gyms and running surfaces. This new rubber-like polymer
flooring was as durable as wood but had a softer texture and greater traction. To
achieve this effect, manufacturers used mercury as a catalyst to assist the
polyurethane to retain the rubber-like softness; as mercury is the only common
metal that remains a liquid at room temperature.
So what are the
potential issues mercury flooring?
According to the EPA, “Elemental Mercury and all of its
components are toxic, exposure to excessive levels can permanently damage or
fatally injure the brain and kidneys” and “pathways of exposure can occur
through inhalation, absorption or ingestion.”
The release of mercury vapors from the flooring can cause
inhalation concerns if the floors are deteriorated or they are poorly maintained.
The continual release of mercury vapor can be of concern if it exceeds the Environmental
Protection Agency’s (EPA) or your state’s guidelines.
The product itself can become of concern when the flooring
is removed for replacement because of disposal regulations, thus causing
Where do I start?
If you believe that you may have a mercury-catalyst
polyurethane floor in your school or facility, or your floor was installed
prior to 1990, it is recommended to have the floors tested by an independent,
certified lab. Be aware that the EPA provides testing standards for both the
vapor levels and amount of mercury present in the floor itself, should it need
to be removed.
Please note that every floor and environment offer different
challenges and state laws vary.
If you have questions about the type of flooring in your school
or facility, contact us TODAY!
Environmental Management Specialists, Inc. has a highly experienced Team of experts with a shared
focus of safety, quality, and value. Since 1990, we continue to dedicate our
resources to the training and state of the art equipment for all of your
environmental remediation and industrial cleaning needs!