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Air Monitoring Applications - Petrochemical

Mercury Contamination Sampling

Petrochemical Applications main pageCrude oil and natural gas can contain a variety of naturally occurring heavy metals such as mercury and also vanadium and nickel. Elemental mercury when present and concentrated in the refining process can cause corrosion and embrittlement to refining equipment. More importantly, when present in the air from the refining process, elemental mercury poses an immediate health risk to the refinery worker. Symptoms include: tremors; emotional changes (e.g., mood swings, irritability, nervousness, excessive shyness); insomnia; neuromuscular changes (such as weakness, muscle atrophy, twitching); headaches; disturbances in sensations; changes in nerve responses; performance deficits on tests of cognitive function. At higher exposures there may be kidney effects, respiratory failure and death.

 

Exposure Limits
Contaminant/
Agency
Exposure Limit
Mercury
OSHA (PEL) 0.1 mg/m³ as mercury (Ceiling); 0.1 mg/m³ as mercury (TWA)
ACGIH (TLV) 0.05 ppm, 0.12 mg/m³ TWA
NIOSH (REL) 0.001 ppm, 0.007 mg/m³ TWA
(TWA=Time-weighted average; TLV=Threshold Limit Value; PEL=Personal Exposure Limit, REL=Recommended Exposure Limit)

 

References
ATSDR ToxFAQs™– Mercury (PDF)
US EPA Health Effects – Mercury

 

Air Sampling Media by Regulatory Method
Method Contaminants of Interest Sampling Media
OSHA ID 145 Particulate Mercury Filter – Mixed Cellulose Ester (MCE), GN-4 Metricel, 37 mm (23381)

 

Related Products
  • Chemical Standards