Regarding the clean-up of the broken thermometer, we have the following comments:
- We are not sure what the overpowering odour was, but your emergency response was correct to evacuate the affected room, especially if the fluid was creosote.
- As your research has shown you, maxima minima thermometers usually have an alcohol in them and without having access to the manufacturers’ information, it is difficult to know, what the fluid actually is.
- We have previously answered some questions regarding the clean-up of mercury. For detailed information please see
- Given that mercury and an unknown alcohol or solvent has spilled onto carpet, which is a porous material, it will be considered hazardous waste and should be removed and disposed of. You may need to get some professional assistance with this.
- Different states have different government organisations that may be able to help you. For example, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has a webpage dedicated to this type of question see http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/questions/broken-mercury-thermometer-spill
- If you have several intact similar thermometers, it may be wise to dispose of them as well via a hazardous waste disposal contractor, to prevent a repeat of this incident.
- When replacing thermometers, we recommend purchasing non-mercury thermometers.
“I have broken a mercury thermometer. How do I clean up the spill?” NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/questions/broken-mercury-thermometer-spill (Accessed August 2017)
“Creosote” TOXFAQs. 2002. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tfacts85.pdf (Accessed September 2017)
“Physics Theory: Thermometers”. Syvum Technologies website. https://www.syvum.com/cgi/online/serve.cgi/squizzes/physics/thermometers.html (Accessed September 2017)
“Six's Maximum and Minimum Thermometers” Weather for schools website. http://www.weatherforschools.me.uk/html/maxmin.html (Accessed September 2017)
“Six's thermometer” The free dictionary website. http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Maximum+minimum+thermometer (Accessed September 2017)
“Six's thermometer” Oxford Reference Website. http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100509453 (Accessed September 2017)