A private contractor worked on cleaning mercury from science classes at Reed High Tuesday after a mercury spill closed the school Monday afternoon.
Tom Dunkleman oif the Federal EPA says, "We are only seeing mercury in a small portion of the school, three classrooms so we are just focusing on three classrooms at this point.
We weren't allowed inside the school today to get a glimpse of those cleanup efforts. But yesterday environmental health specialists tried to locate just where the mercury had been. Detectors showed contamination in the hallways but only trace amounts.
he school's principal Mary Vesco says in the meantime there are additional efforts to make sure parents feel safe sending their child to school. " Most of us don't know what mercury does, I have to be honest about that and so what we are going to do is send a letter off to parents either today or tomorrow just so they know what is going on."
Vesco says after this is all over she'll be talking to her science teachers to see if there are any more devices like the barometer are around that could pose a potential problem for curiosity seekers.
You might want to consider the same for your home. Mercury containing devices include thermometers, blood pressure monitors, thermostats, electrical switches, and batteries. In many cases this technology has been replaced. Even in the mining industry here in Nevada and nationwide, mercury is no longer used to separate metals.
Tom Dunkleman says you might want to look around your home to see if it houses mercury based devices that can be updated and replaced. "Washoe county and the state of Nevada both have collection program set up to start collecting these old switches and instruments so people can contact either washoe county or the state if they have that stuff and arraigns to have it disposed of properly."
[The E-P-A says even a small amount of uncontained mercury which remains in a room can evaporate slowly over time and emit vapors. Chronic exposure can lead to brain and kidney damage.