Heck, back in the 50s, we used to break thermometers and play with the mercury in a small dish. We’d coat pennies, nickels and dimes with it, and I think all 3 of us are still alive, last I checked. LOL.
Liquid mercury is absorbed very slowly. But in the environment, some bacteria methylate it and it enters the food chain, eventually getting into fish and water.
Look up Minimata Disease that happened in Japan. Methylmercury poisoning in people who ate a lot of fish from polluted rivers.
Here’s a scary story of a woman killed by a few drops of pure methylmercury when some penetrated her latex gloves. She died less than a year later.
I did the same, coating dimes and such to make them "shiny". Not much risk there, unless you lick your coins. However, flu shots contain mercury that is directly injected into your body - that has more effect on your health.
we used to play in the “crick”...just down from the dump......probably not very safe....but we’re all alive and kicking.....but we are a little weird I guess....lol