St. Louis, Missouri, December 20th
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last month that on-scene coordinators (OSCs) and contractors were responding to several residences in Wentzville, Missouri. High levels of mercury were found after a child was taken to a suburban St. Louis hospital suffering from elevated mercury blood levels. Children in the residence reportedly had been playing with, and spilled, a small vial of elemental mercury approximately five months earlier.
According to EPA, the hospital called EPA Region 7’s Emergency Spill Line after they determined that the child was suffering from mercury poisoning. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources performed an initial mercury vapor screening of the child’s residence and elevated concentrations were detected throughout the home. Further assessments by EPA OSCs then found high levels of mercury vapors in two other residences. The families from the impacted residences were relocated, while response crews continued to remove contaminated personal items and materials from the homes to decrease mercury vapor concentrations.
At room temperature, exposed elemental mercury can evaporate to become an invisible, odorless, and toxic vapor. Mercury is a neurotoxin and possible symptoms of mercury poisoning listed by EPA include:
- Loss of peripheral vision
- "Pins and needles" feelings, usually in the hands, feet and around the mouth
- Lack of coordination of movements
- Impairment of speech, hearing, walking and/or
- Muscle weakness
“Years ago, mercury was used to make products like thermometers, switches and even some light bulbs,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Unfortunately, some of these products still remain in homes and buildings. If a mercury spill occurs, experienced professionals should be involved to ensure that the level of contamination is identified and is then properly remediated. Environmental testing for mercury provides the information needed to identify, document and verify environmental conditions are once again safe for building occupants.”
To help in these efforts, EMSL Analytical offers mercury and other heavy metal testing services. They provide all of the sampling supplies needed and have even sponsored an educational video about mercury exposure and health effects that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/QVu5js60PWI
To learn more about mercury or other environmental, material, occupational, health and safety testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.