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Published: Monday, 8/30/2004

3 girls checked for mercury exposure

Roxanne Leroux, 14, left, greets Brittany Parenteau, 14, who was the last to be checked for mercury contamination. Roxanne Leroux, 14, left, greets Brittany Parenteau, 14, who was the last to be checked for mercury contamination.
KING / BLADE Enlarge

Three girls were checked for mercury exposure after finding a pop can containing about four ounces of the liquid metal last night in the 800 block of Prouty Avenue, fire officials said.

A portable tent was set up on the street by a HAZMAT team from the Toledo Fire Department after the street was closed to traffic about 7:15 p.m. to allow two 14-year-old girls and a 12-year-old to have their clothing checked for contamination.

Clothing removed from the girls was checked with a meter for the presence of mercury by an official of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Battalion Chief Brian Byrd said. No contamination was found on the clothing but their shoes were confiscated for further testing for the element, he said. The girls were released to their parents, who were urged to have their children checked by a physician as a precaution.

A cleanup company was called to remove the mercury.

Chief Byrd said one girl who apparently handled the can complained of a rash on her neck. He could not say if the rash was linked to handling the can. Symptoms of exposure can include loss of appetite, nausea, muscle tremors, and diarrhea.

At the nearby Aurora Gonzalez Center, 15 people, mostly children, were found with traces of mercury on their shoes or clothes Aug. 12 after the metal was found on the floor in a storage area. Eighty-eight people there were checked for possible contamination. The mercury was found in a storage area of a former medical clinic under renovation at the center.



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