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EPA Region 7 to Distribute "Mercury: An Educator's Toolkit" to Schools in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska

Release Date: 09/10/2008
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Sept. 10, 2008) - With goals of teaching young people about the dangers of elemental mercury and reducing the potential for mercury spills, EPA Region 7 will soon distribute more than 7,400 hard copies of an educational toolkit about the toxic metal to public, private and tribal schools throughout Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

"Mercury: An Educator's Toolkit" is a free, three-disk set of material including student activities, educational videos and other information that teachers can incorporate into their lesson plans. The curriculum material may be used to help students learn about health and environmental concerns associated with mercury, where mercury may exist in their schools and homes, and ways to help school officials and family members address mercury-related hazards.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can cause health and ecological problems when released to the environment. In school settings, mercury may be found in thermostats, thermometers, barometers, electrical switches, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and in science labs, nurses' offices and cafeterias, among other places.

Short-term exposure to a high concentration of mercury or mercury vapors can lead to nausea, shortness of breath, bronchitis, migraine headaches, and fatigue. Long-term exposure to mercury can result in damage to the nervous system, kidneys and liver. Children, and women of childbearing age, are the most at risk for mercury poisoning.

Although individual hard copies of "Mercury: An Educator's Toolkit" will be mailed to schools throughout Region 7 later this month, anyone may preview and download its contents now online at

Schools that have not received a hard copy of the toolkit by October 15, 2008, are encouraged to contact Denise Morrison, 913-551-7402, or e-mail,, to obtain single copies for classroom use.
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