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    Mercury Thermometer Hazards and Kids

    Mercury Thermometer Hazards and Kids

    3 September 2009

    Dear Webmaster,

    I like the idea of your book. I think it is a great idea to use stories to introduce scientific exploration and scientific concepts.

    I am concerned, though, about the story regarding testing the medallion to see if it is pure gold. I believe it is unwise to give kids the idea that breaking a mercury thermometer is an acceptable thing to do. Mercury is highly poisonous and it would be dangerous for kids to touch the mercury in any way. Also, many thermometers today do not use mercury and therefore the kids may break a thermometer and not even get the proposed results.

    Does your book contain any warnings or disclaimers about actually doing this experiment?

    Please consider what I have shared. Thank you for your time.

    Christy Ketterling

    Dear Christy,

    Your concerns are totally justified since mercury is toxic.

    Regretfully, I didn’t pay enough attention to the matter at the time the book was written and the result was that the book didn’t contain any warnings.

    To my opinion, the best way to deal with those concerns was to express them through characters of the novel.

    However, the idea of breaking a mercury thermometer was taken from my childhood experience when the only thermometers in existence were mercury based (I’m quite an old guy) and I broke a lot of them.

    Julian Rubin,
    Science Fair Projects and Experiments

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