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  1. #1
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    Default mercury in gas pressure regulators?

    Do older gas pressure regulators leading to an individual gas appliance (gas fireplace, range, etc.) ever contain mercury? I've read that older gas regulators leading into a home sometimes contain mercury, and would like to know if the pressure regulators for a single appliance can as well. (The specific context I'm interested in involves a gas fireplace connected to a very old-looking pressure regulator.)
    Here are the articles I've seen that discuss mercury pressure regulators:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1480493/
    https://www.epa.gov/sites/production...ar_it_down.pdf

    Thank you for any thoughts!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: mercury in gas pressure regulators?

    Having never seen one (to my knowledge - I may have seen them in older homes in Gainesville, Fl when I was there 30+ years ago, but don't recall at this time) - however, the drawings and photos in those links shows the mercury cup to look for.

    That mercury cup should be the key to look for on older regulators (and that is what I do not recall having seen, that mercury cup hanging down like that, and that mercury cup also means that the regulator would need to be installed on the horizontal, not vertical or at any angle) ... so another key would be an older horizontal regulator, then look for the mercury cup.

    And, if you are in an area which you find out used those mercury regulators, recommendation to test for mercury contamination would be a good idea, and explain why.

    I used to play around with mercury when in middle school and high school, coating pennies with it ... back then, we all did things like that ... and managed to survive.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: mercury in gas pressure regulators?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I used to play around with mercury when in middle school and high school, coating pennies with it ... back then, we all did things like that ... and managed to survive.
    Hey Jerry,

    Did you have one of these? It came with a cloud chamber, Geiger counter and (presumably radioactive) uranium ore.

    There was also a glass-blowing kit as well as metal casting kit where an unsupervised child could play with molten lead!

    What could go wrong?

    https://gajitz.com/1950s-radioactive...rous-toy-ever/
    https://gajitz.com/?s=metal+casting
    https://gajitz.com/3-ridiculously-da...-20th-century/

    "Bring out yer dead"
    "I'm not dead yet!"
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: mercury in gas pressure regulators?

    Gunnar,

    Had a chemistry set and an atomic set, but metal casting ... we did that ourselves melting readily available lead and making whatever or inventive minds thought of and within our rather limited capabilities at the time.

    A neighbor boy down the street receive one of the largest chemistry sets available at the time (the 1950s) for Christmas ... man were we envious as our set was not as good as his ... but only for Christmas Day ...

    (Christmas evening, he managed to blow the second floor wall off his bedroom ... to this day I don't remember if he survived or died - I just remember the explosion late at night, and that we never saw him again (could have been seriously injured and they moved to where he could get proper care - we lived in a small town, no hospital, less than 500 population, maybe even less than 300? - I just don't remember).

    But that radioactive kit was nothing like when I grew up and worked in a defense plant on high power electron tubes (5 mega watts output), we had to get them up to temperature and then put RF power to them, and only then could we get the Geiger Counter out and check to see if assembly had put the lead shield on ... oops ... the Geiger counter pegs the 2 mR (2 mili Ranken I think it was) scale and would scream (not tick), switch to the 20 scale - still pegged, switch to the 200 scale - still pegged, switch to the highest 2000 scale - still pegged ... yeppers, assembly forgot to install the lead shield ... oops.

    I used to joke that I glow in the dark, but don't worry ... it's not contagious ... would someone please turn that light off ... oh, sorry, it's just me.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: mercury in gas pressure regulators?

    Jerry,

    That was a chilling story. What could possibly have been put in a kid's chemistry set that would do that much damage? As I recall, the sets had really small amounts of stuff. Could an elementary school-aged child formulate nitroglycerin or something similar or could it have been a natural gas leak?

    You actually had the uranium ore? Hoo boy!

    Did they have the indicator badges when you worked on the electron tubes (whatever they are)?

    "Bring out yer dead"
    "I'm not dead yet!"
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: mercury in gas pressure regulators?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Did they have the indicator badges when you worked on the electron tubes (whatever they are)?
    Those of us who worked around those things did (maybe everyone in the plant did, that I don't know), but those read long term and had 'reasonable' indication limits. The plant nurse and someone else (I forgot who the other person was) read our badges weekly (we turned a badge in and was given a new badge) ... except for when we found one with the lead shield missing.

    When that would happen, those monitoring indicator badges were of no use because they immediately exceeded their measuring capacity, and we had to take our badge to the plant nurse and the other person, who interviewed us and asked questions (them kept a detailed log of who, when, and how much radiation was measured - which was 'unknown' other than "Correct, the Geiger counter pegged the 2000 mRoentgen scale

    The scale, as I recall, went something like this:
    - 2 mRoentgen (we would expect to measure less full scale on this scale as I recall)
    - 20 mR
    - 200 mR
    - 2000 mR (2 Roentgen) ... even this scale was pegged beyond the 2 full scale reading, so how much was there? Don't know.

    http://www.idahoquad.com/OOPS.html
    "1,000 micro roentgens equal one milli roentgen and 1,000 milli roentgens equal 1 roentgen. So one roentgen is 100,000 times the average radiation of a typical city. A dose of 500 roentgens within 5 hours is fatal to humans. Interestingly, it takes about 1250 roentgens to kill a chicken and over 125,000 roentgen that to kill a cockroach."

    Obviously, whenever the Geiger counter would scream (with low readings, it ticks, higher reading and it ticks faster, peg the meter and it doesn't sound like 'ticking', it is just 'screaming' at you) we would only be exposed long enough to shut it down, so maybe only about 15-20 minutes or so at full scale radiation blasting.

    The factoid I found above about how much radiation it takes to kile a cockroach is interesting. No wonder cockroaches are still around.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
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    2

    Default Re: mercury in gas pressure regulators?

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! Much appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Having never seen one (to my knowledge - I may have seen them in older homes in Gainesville, Fl when I was there 30+ years ago, but don't recall at this time) - however, the drawings and photos in those links shows the mercury cup to look for.

    That mercury cup should be the key to look for on older regulators (and that is what I do not recall having seen, that mercury cup hanging down like that, and that mercury cup also means that the regulator would need to be installed on the horizontal, not vertical or at any angle) ... so another key would be an older horizontal regulator, then look for the mercury cup.

    And, if you are in an area which you find out used those mercury regulators, recommendation to test for mercury contamination would be a good idea, and explain why.

    I used to play around with mercury when in middle school and high school, coating pennies with it ... back then, we all did things like that ... and managed to survive.



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