skip to the main content area of this page
Missoula Valley Water Quality District
(406) 258-4890
Missoula County Seal and image of areas around the City.

Missoula Valley Water Quality District

Department: Water Quality District
Missoula County Home

Water Quality District - Hazardous Waste

 Right-facing arrow indicating a link to a page.Back to Disposal Guide


Where is it Found in Your Home?

Mercury can be found in the home in a variety of products, such as fever thermometers, batteries, thermostats, some eye preparations, mildew-proof latex paint, fluorescent light bulbs, and various switches. Mercury was also used, until the 1970s in the U.S., as a pesticide coating on seed grains to protect against harmful microorganisms.

What Makes it Hazardous?

Mercury is toxic to many organ systems, including the central nervous system. Children and fetuses are at highest risk if exposed to mercury. Mercury can enter the body through inhalation of mercury vapors (when a fluorescent bulb breaks) or through the pores of the skin (when a thermometer breaks). Mercury vapor is odorless and colorless and can build up in your home after a mercury containing item such as a thermometer is broken. Mercury is also hazardous to the environment, because it accumulates in the food chain and can be toxic to humans and other animals that consume mercury-tainted plants or animals.

Spilled Mercury in Your Home?

Dangerous amounts of mercury vapors could be inhaled if spilled mercury is not cleaned up properly. In the event of a mercury spill:

Consumer Tips

Disposal Options



The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at 406-258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.

Much of the information provided is from the Washington County, MN, Dept. of Public Health and Environment website.

Back to Top

Get Adobe Reader Please note some documents are in "Portable Document Format" and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.   If you do not have this viewer, visit

Missoula City-County Health Department Logo

Site Navigation

Health Divisions

More Information

Facebook Logo MCCHD on Facebook

Twitter Logo MCCHD on Twitter

Search Health Sites