[HPN] mercury poisoning

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Tue, 11 Apr 2000 23:59:33 -0400


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City families are still homeless due to mercury contamination=20
They're staying in hotels because levels of metal are highest in their =
Allentown homes.=20

04/11/00=20

By RON DEVLIN=20
Of The Morning Call=20










Ten families evacuated because of mercury contamination in center city =
Allentown remain unable to return home five days after the toxic metal =
was discovered in the hands of children.=20


The families live in houses and apartments where mercury levels were =
highest, said John Conklin, Lehigh County Emergency Management director. =



"Of 27 structures sampled for mercury contamination, about four or five =
showed abnormal levels," Conklin said.=20


Authorities cordoned off a half-block area around the 200 block of N. =
Eighth Street on Thursday and evacuated families from a "hot zone" where =
children spread 24 ounces of mercury around the neighborhood.=20


Apparently unaware of its toxic qualities, children in the neighborhood =
tossed the mercury at one another, rubbed it on their skin and may have =
even set it afire.=20


Inhaling mercury vapors can damage the central nervous system.=20


Over the weekend, 37 people who live in the affected neighborhood were =
given urine and blood tests to determine whether they have mercury =
poisoning. An undetermined number were also tested Monday, authorities =
said.=20


Lehigh Valley, St. Luke's Allentown Campus and Sacred Heart hospitals =
have agreed to test for free 150 people who do not have medical =
insurance.=20


Test results will not be available for a week, said Barbara Stader, =
Allentown's chief health officer. There have been unconfirmed reports of =
children breaking out in rashes and coming down with nausea and =
vomiting, Conklin said.=20


Authorities believe the children got the mercury from a vacant garage on =
Refwal Street, an alley that parallels the 200 block of N. Eighth =
Street.=20


Beads of mercury were found on Refwal and in the Central Elementary =
School playground, which remains closed. No mercury was found in the =
school.=20


The Lehigh Valley Red Cross has provided food, shelter and medicine for =
about 25 people evacuated from their homes since Thursday. Some families =
spent the weekend in a Coopersburg motel because of a shortage of hotel =
rooms due to the CART auto race at Nazareth Speedway. They have been =
moved to the Americus Centre in Allentown.=20


"As long as they are out of their homes, we will provide immediate =
care," said Cordelia Miller, Red Cross director of emergency services.=20





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City families are still homeless due to mercury contamination

They're staying in hotels because levels of metal are highest in = their=20 Allentown homes.

04/11/00=20

By RON DEVLIN
Of The Morning Call

Ten families evacuated because of mercury contamination in center = city=20 Allentown remain unable to return home five days after the toxic metal = was=20 discovered in the hands of children.=20

The families live in houses and apartments where mercury levels were = highest,=20 said John Conklin, Lehigh County Emergency Management director.=20

"Of 27 structures sampled for mercury contamination, about four = or five=20 showed abnormal levels," Conklin said.=20

Authorities cordoned off a half-block area around the 200 block of N. = Eighth=20 Street on Thursday and evacuated families from a "hot zone" = where=20 children spread 24 ounces of mercury around the neighborhood.=20

Apparently unaware of its toxic qualities, children in the = neighborhood=20 tossed the mercury at one another, rubbed it on their skin and may have = even set=20 it afire.=20

Inhaling mercury vapors can damage the central nervous system.=20

Over the weekend, 37 people who live in the affected neighborhood = were given=20 urine and blood tests to determine whether they have mercury poisoning. = An=20 undetermined number were also tested Monday, authorities said.=20

Lehigh Valley, St. Luke's Allentown Campus and Sacred Heart hospitals = have=20 agreed to test for free 150 people who do not have medical insurance.=20

Test results will not be available for a week, said Barbara Stader,=20 Allentown's chief health officer. There have been unconfirmed reports of = children breaking out in rashes and coming down with nausea and = vomiting,=20 Conklin said.=20

Authorities believe the children got the mercury from a vacant garage = on=20 Refwal Street, an alley that parallels the 200 block of N. Eighth = Street.=20

Beads of mercury were found on Refwal and in the Central Elementary = School=20 playground, which remains closed. No mercury was found in the school.=20

The Lehigh Valley Red Cross has provided food, shelter and medicine = for about=20 25 people evacuated from their homes since Thursday. Some families spent = the=20 weekend in a Coopersburg motel because of a shortage of hotel rooms due = to the=20 CART auto race at Nazareth Speedway. They have been moved to the = Americus Centre=20 in Allentown.=20

"As long as they are out of their homes, we will provide = immediate=20 care," said Cordelia Miller, Red Cross director of emergency = services.=20

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