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Butch DeCastro, PhD, MSN, MPH, RN, a senior staff specialist at the ANA's Center for Occupational Health and Safety, responds: Mercury thermometers used in the home may be easily broken, posing a risk of exposure. They are thus considered hazardous waste products and should not be disposed of in the household trash. Many communities schedule hazardous-waste pickups from residences or have created drop-off stations for safe disposal. Contact your local waste management office, public health department, or fire department to determine how you can safely dispose of your mercury thermometers. Their addresses and telephone numbers can be found in the government section of your community telephone directory. Also, Health Care Without Harm advocates community-wide thermometer exchanges. See for more information.