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I heard that you shouldn't use glass thermometers anymore. Is that correct? Why?

Over the last 10 years the use of glass thermometers which contain mercury have declined with the advent of inexpensive digital thermometers. There are two reasons why you should discontinue the use of glass thermometers:


1) Mercury accumulates in the body causing organ damage. Since there are hidden exposures to mercury throughout one's lifetime (such as eating contaminated fish) it doesn't make sense to potentially expose a child early in life if it can be avoided.


2) If the thermometer breaks while you are taking your child's temperature there is a risk of cuts due to broken glass.


Larger stores such as Wal-Mart no longer sell glass thermometers. Many hospitals provide a digital thermometer for you when a baby is born or hospitalized. While glass thermometers are usually just $1.00, digital thermometers are only $5.00 - $8.00 and worth the price for protecting your child.



Donna Dixon, former HES Extension Associate, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension


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Last update: Tuesday, November 25, 2008




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