Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. It exists in several forms: elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Humans cannot create or destroy mercury. Pure mercury is a liquid metal, sometimes referred to as quicksilver that volatizes readily. It has traditionally been used to make products like thermometers, switches, and some light bulbs.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has launched a mercury prevention and reduction campaign to inform citizens, businesses and the medical industry about the serious health threat associated with exposures to mercury and to develop strategies to keep mercury out of our environment. This cross-media initiative involves participation from both the environmental programs (air, water, waste, and consumer protection) and health programs within the Department. One of the driving forces for this initiative is to prevent unacceptable mercury levels in state rivers and lakes.