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Getting What Looks Like Mercury When Cutting along Tongue of Tongue and Groove Floorboards

Postby Peter1000 » Wed May 20, 2015 10:08 pm

I'm rewiring a 1930's house that we have just bought.
The flooring is 6 inch pine T&G, and I'm using a multi-tool (oscillating saw) to cut the tongue along the length of the boards before lifting them.
All had been going well until cutting a board in one of the bedrooms.
Whilst cutting along the board, I noticed a silver 'bead' form in front of the saw blade. At first I thought it was solder, and that I had gone through a pipe or something, however, when I touched the bead, it broke up into lots of tiny beads, as mercury would.
I have spoken to my local authority Building Control, Environmental Health, Health and Safety Executive (who were absolutely no help whatsover).
No one had come across this problem before!
The floor in this bedroom is stained and varnished, so I contacted a varnish technical specialist, who doubts very much that the varnish would contain mercury.
So now I'm at a loss as to what to do next!
Has anyone come across this before?

Thanks for any help.
Peter1000
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Postby stoneyboy » Mon May 25, 2015 7:26 pm

Hi Peter1000,
Many years ago we could buy mercury but H&S has stopped that. I would guess someone in the past has dropped mercury on the floor.
Clearly there is a bit of a health risk in what you are doing because the multitool blade can get very hot and will throw the mercury about.
Suggest you do not do the cutting without the windows open.
end
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