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Author: Subject: Man melting dental fillings for silver ends up exposing entire apartment building to mercury
Loptr
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shocked.gif posted on 12-2-2019 at 06:25
Man melting dental fillings for silver ends up exposing entire apartment building to mercury


This sounds a bit far fetched if you ask me. What do you guys think?

Maybe he was hearing it too hard and was vaporizing a lot of mercury? And seriously, what did he think he was doing?

Quote:
Man melting dental fillings for silver ends up exposing entire apartment building to mercury

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CIRCA via WJAR) — A Fall River, Mass., man melted dental fillings to get silver, but instead he ended up exposing several people to mercury.

The girlfriend of the 51-year-old told Circa affiliate WJAR on Sunday that her boyfriend opened his eyes and responded to his name but was still in the hospital in critical condition.

She and her teenage daughter went back to the hospital Sunday night because their mercury levels were high.

"Hopefully he will completely pull through this. I know he’s going to be completely devastated with everything that’s happened due to an accident," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

On Jan. 25, her boyfriend took a bag of unused dental fillings that he had received from his grandfather who was a dentist and attempted to melt them on the stove to get silver to sell for cash.

“He was bored at home,” the woman said. “We were having trouble with transportation. We did lose our truck, and we needed another vehicle.”

The very next day, she said their dog died, and then her boyfriend started acting strange.

"He was just using a water bottle thinking it was his cellphone trying to play a game on it," she said.

On Monday, she said he went to the hospital and was originally treated for pneumonia. During the week, her three cats started acting odd and have since died.

While he was in the hospital, she went looking for an explanation.

“I spoke with his sister. She said there’s no such thing as liquid silver. It had to be mercury,” she said.

The woman said she told the hospital and made multiple phone calls looking for resources and help. She also called her landlady.

"I told her, 'I think we have something on that house. I don’t know what it is. It could be mercury,'" the woman said.

On Saturday, hazmat crews were brought into her apartment building, which was deemed unsafe.

She said she feels awful for everyone affected.

"We feel sorry for them," she said. "We know how they feel. If we could change it, we definitely would. It was an accident."


https://www.circa.com/story/2019/02/11/weird/man-melting-den...

[Edited on 12-2-2019 by Loptr]

[Edited on 12-2-2019 by Loptr]




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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 07:32


seems to be based on truth http://www.hazmatnation.com/mercury-teeth-fillings-leads-haz...
I could not find the fire dept. report.




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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 09:33


I wonder if they had analyzed the fillings he were using to see if there were any real silver in them?

[Edited on 190212 by fusso]




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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 10:17


There was some Quicksilver for sure.



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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 10:31


Most old silver filings are an amalgam of silver, mercury and a bit of copper ,I think. (Copper for some durability purposes)

With mercury boiling at 350 or so, It'd boil off pretty fast if you were trying to get the pot up to the BP of silver.






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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 15:27


Would metallic mercury vapor have that kind of bioavailabililty though? I would have thought it would get caught in the lungs, and then slowly absorb over years.

If this really unfolded the way they said, this could be one of the worst amateur chemistry accidents in a long time. Brain damage is unlikely to just go away when the source of mercury is removed. I'd rather play with HCN or tatp-at least you know if your bad lab technique is killing you.




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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 16:06


Quote: Originally posted by Loptr  
This sounds a bit far fetched if you ask me. What do you guys think?

Maybe he was hearing it too hard and was vaporizing a lot of mercury? And seriously, what did he think he was doing?

Quote:
Man melting dental fillings for silver ends up exposing entire apartment building to mercury

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CIRCA via WJAR) — A Fall River, Mass., man melted dental fillings to get silver, but instead he ended up exposing several people to mercury.

The girlfriend of the 51-year-old told Circa affiliate WJAR on Sunday that her boyfriend opened his eyes and responded to his name but was still in the hospital in critical condition.

She and her teenage daughter went back to the hospital Sunday night because their mercury levels were high.

"Hopefully he will completely pull through this. I know he’s going to be completely devastated with everything that’s happened due to an accident," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

On Jan. 25, her boyfriend took a bag of unused dental fillings that he had received from his grandfather who was a dentist and attempted to melt them on the stove to get silver to sell for cash.

“He was bored at home,” the woman said. “We were having trouble with transportation. We did lose our truck, and we needed another vehicle.”

The very next day, she said their dog died, and then her boyfriend started acting strange.

"He was just using a water bottle thinking it was his cellphone trying to play a game on it," she said.

On Monday, she said he went to the hospital and was originally treated for pneumonia. During the week, her three cats started acting odd and have since died.

While he was in the hospital, she went looking for an explanation.

“I spoke with his sister. She said there’s no such thing as liquid silver. It had to be mercury,” she said.

The woman said she told the hospital and made multiple phone calls looking for resources and help. She also called her landlady.

"I told her, 'I think we have something on that house. I don’t know what it is. It could be mercury,'" the woman said.

On Saturday, hazmat crews were brought into her apartment building, which was deemed unsafe.

She said she feels awful for everyone affected.

"We feel sorry for them," she said. "We know how they feel. If we could change it, we definitely would. It was an accident."


https://www.circa.com/story/2019/02/11/weird/man-melting-den...

[Edited on 12-2-2019 by Loptr]

[Edited on 12-2-2019 by Loptr]


I do think farfetched.
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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 16:26


Quote: Originally posted by C6(NO2)5CH2CH(CH3)N(NO2)2  
Would metallic mercury vapor have that kind of bioavailabililty though? I would have thought it would get caught in the lungs, and then slowly absorb over years.

If this really unfolded the way they said, this could be one of the worst amateur chemistry accidents in a long time. Brain damage is unlikely to just go away when the source of mercury is removed. I'd rather play with HCN or tatp-at least you know if your bad lab technique is killing you.


Interestingly enough it is, there was a case of a dental student attempting suicide via mercury inhalation, and several other cases pf acute toxicity due to mercury vapor inhalation

Sadly things like this do happen more then you'd imagine, it just never makes the news.

I feel worse for the dog then the person, should have bothered to learn more!

Quick silver is an old name for mercury.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952640/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4531943/

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/crim/2018/1010678/
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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 16:41


There is at least one identical event on record in the USA in my lifetime, it killed at least one and IIRC more.



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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 21:04


The dog and three cats are the lucky ones! They don't have to live with destroyed brains. I agree that the whole thing was poorly thought out.

I found it kind of notable, though, that something as seemingly inert as dental fillings can be dangerous. Of course they have mercury, which can boil on heating, but this is not immediately obvious to someone who doesn't know what an amalgam is.

Our society tends to try to regulate and warn everyone about every possible danger. Hair driers say to keep out of water, kid's "educational" movies say to never put a fork in a toaster, you need a license to drive a car, beverages with alcohol warn about drinking and driving, as well as drinking during pregnancy, isopropyl alcohol bottles say "does not contain... ethyl alcohol... if taken internally serious gastric disturbances will result", keyboards have warnings about carpal tunnel, and fluorescent lights have warnings about mercury. Basically, most things that could be hazardous are covered in warning labels, or else are widely known to be dangerous.

I could easily see myself trying to use some harmless looking product for a use not specifically given on its label. If putting 5 bar of air pressure into an aquarium hose, trying to burn a pingpong ball, or wrapping a string around the shaft of a low voltage electric motor and pulling could create a huge cloud of mercury vapor, I'd be long dead. In none of those cases did I know exactly what would happen, although I knew what I wanted to happen and knew some of the less desirable things that might happen. In none of those cases, nor in many others, was I using something exactly as described in the directions. As a home experimenter, you often use things for purposes they have not been sold for, although we usually try to learn as much as we can about a reaction before physically doing it. What's my point? Perhaps common sense alone would not tell you that putting dental fillings on the stove would kill you or worse, and that melting silver on a stove was a losing proposition.

Was it a mistake? Of course it was. Was it one I would make? Maybe not. Was it particularly, spectacularly, outstandingly, "Darwin award" stupid? Not in my mind. Plenty of otherwise smart people make mindless mistakes like that. I can only assume you have made mistakes while experimenting, at least once or twice.

Like anyone else, I like to familiarize myself with a reaction before attempting it. But sometimes you think you understand something pretty thoroughly like I thought with the pingpong ball. Thankfully, that was done outside, and no harm came, of it, just surprise.

I hope the man recovers, or, failing that, dies soon. Likewise, I hope the girlfriend, her child, and the neighbors don't develop any bad neurological problems.

Not so importantly, I would hope this doesn't create more laws that impede amateur scientists. It would be to bad if mercury was banned from individual possession, or something equally ridiculous.
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[*] posted on 12-2-2019 at 21:39


Quote: Originally posted by Vomaturge  
I would hope this doesn't create more laws that impede amateur scientists. It would be to bad if mercury was banned from individual possession, or something equally ridiculous.

It is hard to see how this might actually work. Write a law and pass it so that it is illegal to heat dental fillings? There are already regulations concerning mercury but they made no difference in this case since the guy was ignorant of what he was handling.
I would not put it past some bureaucracy to try to pass a law. But I just don't see that it would gain any traction.

Among the takeaways from this event are
  • Do your research beforehand.
  • Go overboard on safety protocols if you are doing something new.
  • Keep things small scale first time around. Scale up cautiously when you have learned more about the process.
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    [*] posted on 13-2-2019 at 04:33


    If you do this when you are 12 at least you have an excuse.
    Being 51 and not thinking to search for what is in that amalgam is another story...

    Who doesnt know mercury is bad ? And I dont mean here, or the general public. Even the least educated people know that dont they ?
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    [*] posted on 13-2-2019 at 07:24


    I think someone needs to tell this guy that mercury is bad, ummkay.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/aprhd8/factory_leader_...

    (regardless of solubility, I would not drink mercury)

    [Edited on 13-2-2019 by Loptr]




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    [*] posted on 13-2-2019 at 13:11


    Quote: Originally posted by C6(NO2)5CH2CH(CH3)N(NO2)2  
    Would metallic mercury vapor have that kind of bioavailabililty though?


    Yes, that's what lungs are for.

    Incidentally, liquid mercury was once used as a laxative.
    I hope the video didn't show that aspect of it.
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    [*] posted on 13-2-2019 at 18:45


    And I though I had a lot of mercury. Even when I knew nothing about chemistry, I knew to fear lead and mercury. I wonder how these older guys missed out on that information.
    Quote: Originally posted by Loptr  
    I think someone needs to tell this guy that mercury is bad, ummkay.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/aprhd8/factory_leader_...

    (regardless of solubility, I would not drink mercury)

    [Edited on 13-2-2019 by Loptr]
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    [*] posted on 13-2-2019 at 19:08


    Actually the problem is the fact that drinking a bit of it will not poison anyone. It leads people to think elemental mercury is always safe. The vapor is about as toxic as any other form, but you'd never know it because it isn't mentioned. Fluorescent tubes are filled with it and there are no special precautions for their disposal...



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