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Rescue, Hazmat Respond to Mercury Spill at Adult Day Care Center

An adult day care center employee handling a blood pressure monitor dropped and broke the device's glass mercury-filled channel, spilling a small amount of mercury in the process.

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.

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* October 20, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Great job by our Volunteers, however, I'm sure if there were any implications of wrongdoing. Welsh the Sheriff of Radburn would get to tge bottom
Jane Lyle Diepeveen October 22, 2012 at 09:41 PM
My science friend says that mercury evaporates only under high heat so cannot evaporate into the air.
Rudolph S Caparros Jr December 21, 2012 at 09:51 PM
HazMat Experts and Firefighters petition Dow Chemical and Union Pacific for safe rail tank cars transporting gas chlorine. Secondary containment is a necessary improvement that must be implemented. See--PETITION C KIT for First Responders Comments.

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