Re: Mercury, and Titanium
In 1971, I had a pre-University job in the laboratories of the Coal Tar Research Association, now long defunct; the writing was on the wall when I was there, as coal tar is a by-product of the even then defunct coal gas industry. One of my tasks was tending a mercury still in the corner of the laboratory. This basically works by distilling mercury under vacuum. I hate to think how much mercury leaked out of it! I forget what we used mercury for, but distilling dirty mercury to recover it was part of our routine operations. That laboratory wouldn't have lasted five minutes in these H&S conscious days. After all, coal tar itself is pretty evil stuff, full of nasty carcinogenic chemicals. Of course, we handled it in the open laboratory, often heating it over open flames! We used solvents like toluene and trichlorethylene to clean things - both brought in by the 45 gallon drum! Of course, we were handling very hot equipment a lot of the time, so we wore asbestos gloves... And some of the procedures were downright dangerous - I have a scar to this day from an accident where I was lucky not to lose my little finger.