News Release 082

Department of Natural Resources investigates a second mercury spill at Lebanon High School

Volume 38-082 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Judd Slivka
573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, FEB. 23, 2010 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources responded to Lebanon High School after the department received a tip Tuesday afternoon about a potential mercury release.

An anonymous caller today reported there had been a mercury release prior to last week’s incident.

Upon returning to the school, an emergency responder from the department’s Southwest Regional Office in Springfield verified there had been a mercury release in the room used by the school’s wrestling squad for practice. School staff had not made DNR responders aware of the room’s existence during last weekend’s incident. DNR staff has now sealed off the room and is working to remove the mercury.

According to the Department of Health and Senior Services’ Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, any possible health issues for students will depend on their length and level of exposure to mercury vapors.

People who are concerned about potential exposures may contact the Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology at 573-751-6102 for more information on mercury exposure or their personal physician for medical concerns.  

Metallic mercury is liquid at room temperature and has no odor. It was once commonly used in thermometers, barometers, switches and blood-pressure measuring devices.

When spilled, some of the metal will evaporate into the air and can be carried long distances. Mercury is toxic when inhaled. Improper clean up with a vacuum, paintbrush or household cleaner increases exposure by dispersing the mercury into the air. For more information on cleaning up mercury spills, see the department’s website: dnr.mo.gov/env/mercury-cleanup.htm.

To report an environmental emergency, including mercury spills, please the contact the Department of Natural Resources’ spill line at 573-634-2436. For more information about the Missouri Department of Natural Resources contact the department at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443, or visit the department's Web page at dnr.mo.gov.

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