Summer Hours Through August 9, Lincoln is open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and closed on Fridays. 

Spill Clean Up

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Appropriate Absorbents for Special Spill Clean-up


Acid Chlorides

  • Use Oil-Dri, Zorb-All, or dry sand.
  • Avoid water and avoid sodium bicarbonate.

Alkali Metals (lithium, sodium, magnesium, potassium)

  • Smother with dry sand or cover with contents from a Class “D” fire extinguisher.

      Use of a Class “D” fire extinguisher is the preferred extinguishing method.

  • Avoid contact with water.

 White or Yellow Phosphorus

  • Blanket with wet sand or wet absorbent.


  • Neutralize spill with a 5% solution of sodium thiosulfate.
  • Absorb with inert absorbent material.

Hydrofluoric Acid

  • Neutralize with soda ash or lime (or absorb spill with special HF spill pillow).
  • Absorb with inert absorbent material.


Mercury spills rarely present an imminent hazard unless the spill occurs in an area with extremely poor ventilation. The main exposure route of mercury is via vapor inhalation. Consequently, if metallic mercury is not cleaned up adequately, the tiny droplets remaining in surface cracks and crevices may yield toxic vapors for years.

When a mercury spill occurs, first cordon off the spill area to prevent people from inadvertently tracking the contamination over a much larger area. DO NOT use a regular vacuum cleaner, because you will only disperse toxic vapors into the air and contaminate your vacuum cleaner. If a special mercury vacuum is not available, first use an appropriate suction device to collect the big droplets, then use a special absorbent (available from most laboratory supply vendors) to amalgamate smaller mercury droplets.

Ideally, mercury spills should be prevented in the first place. Examine all uses of mercury to see if substitutes are available. If substitutes are not available, use trays or other equipment to provide spill containment. Spilled mercury often accumulates in sink traps. Be prepared to contain the mercury when servicing such facilities.


Call HMCO (573-681-5497) and ask for assistance if you are unable to accomplish adequate clean up.