Mercury is a shiny metallic liquid, which is commonly found in measuring devices such as thermometers, manometers, barometers, and gauges. Mercury may also be found in valves, switches, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. It is also used in amalgams for dentistry, preservatives, heat transfer technology, pigments, catalysts, and lubricating oils. Worker exposure is most likely to occur during mining, production, and transportation of mercury, as well as during mining and refining of gold and silver ores.

The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for mercury is a ceiling limit of 0.1 milligrams per cubic meter of air, which is currently enforced as an 8-hour time-weighted average.

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