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Mercury contamination prompts district closure

August 25, 2009
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FORSYTH, MO — Classes at the Forsyth R-III School District were cancelled last week due to mercury contamination resulting from inadequate and improper cleanup, according to the Branson Daily News.
According to the story, the mercury, which was brought to the middle school by a science teacher, was released when the plastic container it was stored in was knocked over during class, spilling over a student’s notebook and onto the floor.
Air samples confirmed suspicions that the mercury was tracked throughout the school by students traveling from the spill site to different areas of the building, the story stated.
Superintendent Brent Blevins said: "The administration wasn''t notified until after the school day. The cleaning process that had taken place was inappropriate and caused matters to be worse. We contacted the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and after taking readings, we felt the readings were too high to have school."
The building was ventilated and an environmental contractor was brought in to remediate the mercury found in dozens of spots around the school, the story noted.
Because students were only exposed to mercury vapors for a short time, there is no reason to believe any adverse health effects will result from the situation, the story added.
To read the release sent to parents and guardians, click here.
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