Curiously ignorant and apathetic is the manner in which modern workers in many university, government, and industrial research laboratories approach the dangers of handling mercury. Fortunately, most laboratory‐scale operations are intermittent enough to give a distinct factor of safety, but mercury's great toxicity, and the ease with which it gains entry to the body, means that interrupted exposures will not necessarily prevent toxic effects. The possibility of acute mercury poisoning from laboratory accidents and the likelihood of storing unknown amounts of mercury over the years, with resultant chronic poisoning, are very real. Mercury poisoning, or mercurialism, has been known since Roman times. This does not make it less dangerous now.

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