Periodic Table of Elements

Element Mercury - Hg

Comprehensive data on the chemical element Mercury is provided on this page; including scores of properties, element names in many languages, most known nuclides of Mercury. Common chemical compounds are also provided for many elements. In addition technical terms are linked to their definitions and the menu contains links to related articles that are a great aid in one's studies.

Mercury Menu

Overview of Mercury

Mercury's Name in Other Languages

  • Latin: Hydrargyrum
  • Czech: Rtut´
  • Croatian: Živa
  • French: Mercure
  • German: Quecksilber - e
  • Italian: Mercurio
  • Norwegian: Kvikksølv
  • Portuguese: Mercúrio
  • Russian: Ргуть
  • Spanish: Mercurio
  • Swedish: Kvicksilver

Atomic Structure of Mercury

Chemical Properties of Mercury

Physical Properties of Mercury

Regulatory / Health

  • CAS Number
    • 7439-97-6
  • UN/NA ID and ERG Guide Number
  • RTECS: OV4550000
  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)
  • OSHA PEL Vacated 1989
    • TWA: 0.05 mg/m3
    • Ceiling: 0.1 mg/m3
    • Potential for skin absorption
  • NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)
    • TWA: 0.05 mg/m3
    • Ceiling: 0.1 mg/m3
    • Potential for skin absorption
    • IDLH: 10 mg/m3
  • Routes of Exposure: Inhalation; Skin absorption; Ingestion; Skin and/or eye contact
  • Target Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system, kidneys
  • Levels In Humans:
    Note: this data represents naturally occuring levels of elements in the typical human, it DOES NOT represent recommended daily allowances.
    • Blood/mg dm-3: 0.0078
    • Bone/p.p.m: 0.45
    • Liver/p.p.m: 0.018-3.7
    • Muscle/p.p.m: 0.02-0.7
    • Daily Dietary Intake: 0.004-0.02 mg
    • Total Mass In Avg. 70kg human: 6 mg

Who / Where / When / How

  • Discoverer: Known to ancient civilization
  • Discovery Location: Unknown
  • Discovery Year: Unknown
  • Name Origin:
    From the Greek god Mercury who was the messenger to the gods and was known for his speed; Hg from mercury's Latin name Hydrargyrum, which comes from the Greek word "hydrargyros" ("hydor" for water and "argyros" for silver).
  • Abundance of Mercury:
    • Earth's Crust/p.p.m.: 0.05
    • Seawater/p.p.m.:
      • Atlantic Suface: 4.9E-07
      • Atlantic Deep: 4.9E-07
      • Pacific Surface: 3.3E-07
      • Pacific Deep: 3.3E-07
    • Atmosphere/p.p.m.: N/A
    • Sun (Relative to H=1E12): 125
  • Sources of Mercury:
    Most mercury comes from cinnabar ore. Annual world production is around 8,400 tons. Primary mining areas are Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia.
  • Uses of Mercury:
    Used in thermometers, barometers, fluorescent lamps and batteries.
  • Additional Notes:
    Causes neurological and kidney damage and blindness. Also associated with birth defects. Very damaging to aquatic life. It is found in paint, batteries, thermometers, electrical equipment, fluorescent lights and plastics. Also used in gold mining industry. Batteries account for 88% of the mercury content in municipal solid waste.

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A list of reference sources used to compile the data provided on our periodic table of elements can be found on the main periodic table page.

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