The Fair Lawn Rescue Squad and the Bergen County Hazardous Materials Response Team responded to a mercury spill at the Broadway Adult Medical Day Care Center Saturday afternoon.
Rescue Squad Chief Peter Yuskaitis said the spill occurred when an adult day care center employee working in the medical office dropped a blood pressure monitor. The device's glass mercury-filled column shattered on impact, causing small silvery mercury pellets to spill out onto the woman, a drawer and the floor.
Upon arrival, the rescue squad isolated and bagged the drawer where the spill occurred and closed off the room. Without the means to perform a proper clean up of the nearly invisible spilled mercury pellets, Yuskaitis said Rescue yielded to the county's Hazmat team for assistance.
Yuskaitis said the employee who came in contact with a small amount of mercury should not be in any danger as long as she takes the proper precautions of airing out and washing her clothing and footwear.
The spill itself does not pose an exposure problem, he explained. The larger issue is ensuring that the spilled mercury isn't tracked all over and left to evaporate into the air.
According to the National Institues of Health, if metallic mercury isn't cleaned up properly, it can pose a serious health risk. A room's air can reach unhealthy mercury levels just from exposure to the amount of mercury contained in a thermometer.