It’s a highly toxic, very volatile element that must be handled with care. Yet this element can be found at mine sites as a byproduct from processing gold and silver ore and in traces in coal. It’s Mercury, a heavy, silvery-white liquid metal that comes from a bright red ore called cinnabar (HgS). Mercury is atomic number 80 on the periodic table, and sometimes goes by the name Quicksilver. Although it’s been around since the ancient Egyptians, overall use of mercury has declined due to toxicity concerns for the environment and human health. Over time, mercury buildup in one’s body can cause damage to the brain, kidneys and other organs. According to the United States Geological Society, because of these concerns, “Mercury has not been produced as a principal mineral commodity in the United States since 1992…. Global consumption of mercury was estimated to be less than 2,000 tons per year, and approximately 50% of this consumption was as mercury compounds used as catalysts in the coal-based manufacture of vinyl chloride monomer in China.” Mercury can still be found in end-of-use products, however. Because of that, there are several US State and Federal Regulations that address the disposal and recycling of electronics and other consumer goods that could contain mercury, including switches, relays, and batteries. Beginning January 1, 2013, export of elemental mercury from the United States was banned, with some exceptions, under the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008. So stay away from mercury, but you can learn more about it by taking a look at this infographic. View 9 Fast Facts About Mercury.