NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
NIOSH Hazard ID, HID 6 - exposure to mercury vapor during the use of mercury carburetor synchronizers.
Lee SA; Flesch J; McKenzie LE
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-111, (HID 6), 1999 Jun; :1-2
In motorcycle and marine outboard engines with multiple carburetors, the vacuum pressure of each carburetor should be balanced. Mechanics commonly use mercury carburetor synchronizers for this procedure. Exposure to mercury may occur in two ways. Mercury carburetor synchronizers (gauges) contain about 40 grams of mercury that can be spilled if these gauges are not handled or stored properly. Also, improper engine tuning can cause mercury to be sucked into the engine and released instantly in high concentrations from the exhaust system. Acute exposure to high concentrations of mercury vapor can affect lung function and possibly damage the lungs. Mercury can also enter the body through the skin. Prolonged exposure to mercury can damage the kidneys and the central nervous system. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is also concerned that many motorcycle and marine mechanics work in garages without effective ventilation systems for controlling motor vehicle emissions. To reduce exposure to these emissions, the mechanics rely on natural ventilation from open doors and windows, or they try to limit the amount of time an engine runs inside the garage.
Mercury-vapors; Motor-vehicle-parts; Mechanics; Marine-workers; Vacuum-equipment; Automotive-engines; Ventilation-systems; Exhaust-systems; Work-practices; Pulmonary-function; Lung-disorders; Kidney-damage; Central-nervous-system-disorders; Automotive-emissions; Automotive-repair-shops; Carbon-monoxide
Numbered Publication; Hazard ID
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-111; HID-6
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 27, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division