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What is mercury used for?

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Mercury is the liquid inside thermometers. It is also used in "mercury switches" that close an electrical circuit when the switch is moved even slightly.

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The greatest modern uses of mercury are the industrial production of caustic soda, and in gaseous-vapor fluorescent lamps. It is also employed in niche products in electronics and scientific instruments. Most other historical uses have been curtailed because of mercury's toxicity.

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