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September 29, 2016


I see if a little mercury can be flushed down a toilet and then I take the experiment a little farther and flush a toilet with 240 lbs of mercury.

This is no job for a low-flow.

(Thanks to RussellMc)


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This idiot can expect a visit from the EPA/HazMat police and a big fine for illegal hazmat disposal if that really was mercury. Back in the day, the family dentist used to let us take the little drops of mercury squeezed from dental amalgam home in a paper cup, ad we would play with it until it dispersed. Now a drop of mercury can trigger school evacuations, etc., until the 'dangerous substance' is removed by people in head-to-toe Tyvek.



Watch the video. He didn't flush anything into the sewer system. Nothing was "disposed", illegally or otherwise.

And I thought going into the fast food restroom and placing a bunch ketchup packets under the toilet seat was boring.

I'd rather have a Toyota than a Mercury.

@Debi Harris:

"Guys in action." No further explanation required. Or possible.

If I had money
Tell ya what I'd do
Flush 240 lbs of mercury
Down a scientific loo...


Someone has way too much free time on their hands...

Loose cannons like this guy aren't funny. How did he accquire 240 pounds of toxic mercury in the first place and what did he do with it after the camera wasn't running? It's use in gold mining has been banned for decades.

Spiny Norman,

I question whether the mercury experimenter wound up with the same amount as he started with back in his flasks. It's illegal to release mercury into the environment not just into sewer or septic systems. Also, along with the ad where the kid flushes his teddy bear, etc., others wishing to surpass his record may not be as careful.

I know several geologist/engineer friends working on EPA sites cleaning up toxic old mining sites for mercury and other metals. When heated, the metallic mercury becomes a highly toxic vapor. It's nasty stuff, nothing to be played with for certain.

Le Petomane: How did he accquire 240 pounds of toxic mercury in the first place? It's completely legal to buy and sell in the US as long as you follow hazmat shipping requirements for quantities over a pound. A quick Google search provides sources like this and this.

I'd worry more about atmospheric mercury from power plants, about 30 tons annually in the US (even with new EPA restrictions) plus more from China, etc. It has created fish consumption advisories in every state, and is a far more widespread problem than point-source contamination by elemental mercury.

What coscolo said up there. We used to play with it all the time in grammar school. I think the teachers used to give it to us to keep us busy (and quiet). It's probably a good thing I never had kids ...

Ralph: I checked your links and was shocked to find not only mercury , but even nastier actors such as arsenic and thallium can be bought by anyone. I have only worked with large mining companies and know all the myriad government rules that apply to the large quantities involved there and wrongly assumed those same rules applied to average people. You are totally correct and thanks for replying. Let's just hope the wrong people don't use this information.

@Le Petomane - just out of curiosity, asking for a friend, do you know how to buy about 20 lbs of a weapon grade plutonium? This friend's kid has a science school project.

@Qaz-it's gratifying to see kids taking an interest in science projects. It was rockets when I was young. A neighbor friend and I built a really neat one. When we fired it off, it went straight up about six-feet, went to level flight and through an open window on a chicken coup where it exploded in a cloud of flame and feathers, even burned down an adjoining shed. So what could go wrong with a little plutonium experiment? When I graded uranium for a major company, they always took it away from us before it could be turned into anything fun. I bet Ralph would know, however.

Completely unrelated piece of trivia - the critical mass of Plutonium 239 is about 11 kilograms, i.e. 24.5 pounds.

key caption :

[metallic blub]

A quick Google search shows you can buy plutonium from the DOE. At almost $11,000 per gram it's rather expensive, however. I suspect it's cheaper from the Libyans.

Ralph is bringing to mind an old POGO saying: " We has met the enemy and they is us."

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